Thursday’s disclosure sheds new light on efforts by Chinese and Iranian hackers to break into US political campaigns and suggests that Russian hacking efforts have continued apace.
“The activity we are announcing today makes clear that foreign activity groups have stepped up their efforts targeting the 2020 election,” Microsoft said in a post on its website.
Microsoft said the same Russian hacking group that was identified by US prosecutors as being primarily responsible for the attacks on the Democratic presidential campaign in 2016 had recently targeted national and state parties in the US and consultants who work for Republicans and Democrats. Microsoft said the Russians’ tactics had evolved since 2016 and include likely automated “brute force” attacks.
The report said the Russian group had targeted more than 200 organizations, many, Microsoft said, “are directly or indirectly affiliated with the upcoming U.S. election as well as political and policy-related organizations in Europe.”