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Microsoft: Iran-linked hackers tried disrupting a US presidential campaign

An Iranian-linked hacking group reportedly tried to infiltrate U.S. President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, Reuters said. However, the attempt by Iran was unsuccessful.

On Friday, Microsoft Corp said that it witnessed “significant” cyber activity, most likely hacking attempts, by the group that also attacked a number of current and former U.S. government officials, global political reporters and renowned Iranians living outside Iran.

The publicly accessible mail exchanger records suggest that the official website of Trump’s election campaign is a sole one amongst the remaining major contenders’ websites that is linked with Microsoft’s cloud email service.

Tim Murtaugh, Trump’s election campaign Director of Communications said, “We have no indication that any of our campaign infrastructure was targeted.”

In one month, between August to September, the Iran-aligned hacking group, named “Phosphorous” by Microsoft, made over 2,700 attempts to determine consumer email accounts of specific customers. Out of those, the group attacked 241 accounts.

In a blog post, Microsoft said, “Four accounts were compromised as a result of these attempts; these four accounts were not associated with the U.S. presidential campaign or current and former U.S. government officials.”

Nineteen Democrats have sought their party’s nomination in order to run for the U.S. presidential election 2020.

According to the Reuters, Microsoft’s blog did not mention which candidate’s election campaign was targeted by Phosphorous hacking group, but sources said it was related to Trump’s re-election campaign.

The FBI did not revert to the request for comment.

Hacking and meddling to influence the elections has become problematic for governments, majorly after Russia was accused by the U.S. intelligence agencies for running a propaganda operation to meddle with the U.S. presidential election in 2016 and help Trump get elected as the president. However, Russia has denied any interference.

Tech giants, including including Facebook Inc (FB.O), Alphabet Inc’s Google (GOOGL.O), Microsoft and Twitter Inc (TWTR.N), are facing increased pressure to tighten up security for the upcoming elections in the U.S. and other nations in the world.

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