The US 2016 presidential elections were defined mostly by an email hacking scandal from a foreign state, and 2020 seems to be heading in that direction.
Today, Microsoft revealed a new series of cyber attacks carried out by a threat group which they dubbed Phosphorus. The attacks took place between August and September. Phosphorus, Microsoft says, is linked to the Iranian government. The group has attempted to infiltrate customer accounts belonging to a current presidential campaign, singling out 241 of them for a targeted strike. Microsoft declined to say which campaign was affected, but recent events may offer a hint.
“The targeted accounts are associated with a U.S. presidential campaign, current and former U.S. government officials, journalists covering global politics and prominent Iranians living outside Iran. Four accounts were compromised as a result of these attempts,” Microsoft said in a blog post on Friday. “Phosphorus used information gathered from researching their targets or other means to game password reset or account recovery features and attempt to take over some targeted accounts.”
The firm has notified rthe affected parties, who have most likely taken steps to tighten up security on their end. Similarly, Microsoft’s Defending Democracy program is tailor-made to avoid or at least mitigate occurrences like this, and the firm didn’t pass on the opportunity to highlight it.