Alexa Iranian hackers targeted U.S. presidential campaign: Microsoft

Iranian hackers targeted U.S. presidential campaign: Microsoft

Science & IT

Published: 18:39 5 October 2019  

File Photo

File Photo

The 2020 presidential election is still 13 months away, but already Iranians are following in the footsteps of Russia and have begun cyberattacks aimed at disrupting the campaigns.

Microsoft said on Friday that Iranian hackers, with apparent backing from the government, had made more than 2,700 attempts to identify the email accounts of current and former United States government officials, journalists covering political campaigns and accounts associated with a presidential campaign.

The Iranian government attacked 241 email accounts in a 30-day period between August and September.

Though the company would not identify the presidential campaign involved, two people with knowledge of the hacking, who were not allowed to discuss it publicly, said it was President Trump’s.

In addition to Iran, hackers from Russia and North Korea have started targeting organizations that work closely with presidential candidates, according to security researchers and intelligence officials.

The intruders were not technically sophisticated, but they were determined, Microsoft said.

Phosphorous frequently used spear-phishing in hopes it might trick users into providing login details through fake web forms.

Microsoft said it had notified Phosphorous' targets and was helping compromised users secure their accounts. It also recommended that political figures use its AccountGuard program to get advanced monitoring and threat alerts.

Iran hasn’t acknowledged its involvement in the attacks. However, they wouldn't be surprising in light of escalating tensions between the US and Iran that have included digital warfare.

Iran has also been accused of conducting a Russia-like disinformation campaign meant to skew American politics ahead of the 2020 presidential election. If Iran is involved, this would mainly represent one of the most overt attacks to date.

Source: The New York Times