Hackers with ties to Russia, China and Iran are attempting to spy on people and groups associated with the US 2020 presidential election, Microsoft says.
The tech firm said that the Russian group has rejoined the 2016 Democratic campaign in cyber attacks.
Microsoft said it was “clear that foreign activity groups have stepped up their efforts” targeting the election.
The campaigns of both President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden are being targeted.
Russian hackers of the strontium group have targeted more than 200 organizations, many of which are linked to American political parties – both Republicans and Democrats, Microsoft said in a statement.
Tom Burt, in charge of customer security, said, “Similar to what we saw in 2016, Strontium is campaigning to harvest people’s log-in credentials or compromise their accounts. And trust.
The firm said Chinese hackers had launched attacks targeting individuals associated with Mr. Biden’s campaign, while Iranian hackers continued to attempt to target people associated with the Trump campaign.
According to Microsoft, most cyber-attacks were not successful. Attacks have also not been launched on groups that handle the voting system themselves.
“What we have seen is consistent with previous attack patterns that target not only candidates and campaign staff, but also those who consult on key issues,” said Schriert.
“These activities highlight the need of people and organizations involved in the political process, so that we can protect ourselves as soon as the election day draws near.
Although the US counter-intelligence director said in August that China favored Mr Biden, Microsoft reported that Chinese groups had launched attacks on the personal email accounts of people associated with the Biden campaign, as well as “formerly Trump administration less a key figure ”.
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“Key persons” in the international affairs community, educational institutions and policy organizations were also targeted by the Chinese hacking group, known as zirconium.
The Iranian group, known as Phosphorus, has sought failure to access the accounts of White House officials and Mr. Trump’s campaign staff between May and June this year.
The report comes a day after a whistleblower at the US Department of Homeland Security alleged that it pressured him to reduce the risk of Russian interference in the election because it “made the president feel bad”.
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What happened in 2016?
US intelligence agencies concluded in 2016 that Russia was behind the effort to curtail Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, with state-authorized campaigns of cyber attacks on social media and fake news.
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Investigations by Special Counsel Robert Muller found that Russian hackers gained access to the Democratic National Committee system as well as the private emails of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
He leaked thousands of emails from the campaign.
Facebook later testified that Russian-backed content sent around the election reached 126 million Americans on the platform.