US elections become a target for hackers


  • Russia, China, and Iran have made attempts to cyberattack individuals and organizations involved with Biden and Trump presidential campaign according to tech giant Microsoft.
  • Strontium, Zirconium and Phosphorous are three hacker groups that got publicly accused of mentioned crimes.
  • Microsoft noticed these attacks in recent weeks; however, no damage was reported, and election infrastructure and systems remained intact.
  • Both presidential cabinets made statements to the public saying they were prepared for similar attacks as now they are big targets.

Hacker activity connected to Russia, China and Iran was exposed yesterday by Microsoft, stating that they detected cybercrimes targeting upcoming US presidential elections.

People and organizations that were a part of both Trump and Biden presidential campaign were the main targets of what appear to be unsuccessful cyberattacks.

Strontium, Zirconium and Phosphorus are the three groups from the countries mentioned above that were persistent with cyberattacks, targeting personal accounts, high-profile people, and hundreds of organizations. Nearly 200 organizations were reported to be attacked from Russia, while there were no other reported numbers for China and Iran.

Strontium has been known for attempted cyberattacks in the past as they had violated the Democratic campaign back in 2016.

Microsoft stated that the attacks were noticed before any damage could be done and were stopped by security tools they implemented into their apps.

Chris Krebs, director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, said the attacks did not have any impact on the election system and that the voting infrastructure will remain the same.

It seems like the Chinese Zirconium’s main target were individual personas involved in Biden’s campaign, while Iranian Phosphorus had organizations within Trump’s campaign in mind.

In Tom Burt’s statement for Microsoft, it is said that there are consistent patterns with cyberattacks and that all of them involve key issues regarding presidential elections. He also suggests getting better security measures when discussing important political topics, which are already implemented in some Microsoft apps (AccountGuard, Microsoft 365 Campaigns and others).

Chinese hacker groups violated individuals’ personal emails from Biden’s campaign, alongside at least one relevant persona connected to the Trump’s campaign. Iranian hackers targeted the White House staff in May and June.

Trump’s national press secretary Thea McDonald was not surprised with cyberattacks, stating they are a large target due to recent and upcoming political events. Biden’s cabinet also made a statement saying they were aware of prepared for similar attacks.

Burt finished his statement for Microsoft saying it is essential to expose individual cybercrimes because the democratic world needs to be of similar attacks.

GOOD READ: How is the US Election Race Faring? Does it impact your portfolio?

What happened in 2016?

In 2016, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign was affected by cyberattacks. Alongside cyberattacks, fake news was deliberately published by hacker groups to hurt Clinton’s campaign.

They leaked thousands of emails related to Clinton’s campaign, which were stolen from the personal email account of former chair John Podesta.

126 million people in the US were affected because of mentioned Russian attacks, Facebook confirmed.

DO READ: Cybersecurity and the Requirement of a Resilient Environment in Australia

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