Microsoft reported on Thursday that Russian, Chinese and Iranian hackers have been actively targeting the upcoming U.S. presidential election, though their motivations are still unclear.

The same Russian organization that interfered with the 2016 Democratic presidential campaign, according to the Mueller Report, has attacked over 200 organizations that are directly or indirectly affiliated with the coming election or with political parties in Europe. The group is known by two names: Strontium and Fancy Bear. Strontium has also attacked businesses in different industries. The NCSC statement reports that Russia and Russia-affiliated actors are seeking to “denigrate former Vice President Biden” and “boost President Trump’s candidacy on social media and Russian television.”

“The activity we are announcing today makes clear that foreign activity groups have stepped up their efforts targeting the 2020 election as has been anticipated, and is consistent with what the U.S. government and others have reported,” announced Tom Burt, corporate vice president of customer security and trust, through a blog post.

The National Counterintelligence and Security Center’s (NCSC) director, William Evanina, issued a statement in August that China “prefers that President [Donald] Trump – whom Beijing sees as unpredictable – does not win reelection.” According to Microsoft’s findings, however, China is prominently targeting Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Microsoft did find that there was “at least one prominent individual formerly associated with the Trump Administration” who had been targeted by the Chinese group. The group has attempted thousands of attacks between March and September 2020.


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Iranian hackers has been attempting to log into Trump and his campaign staff’s accounts.

Brian Murphy, the former head of the Department of Homeland Security’s intelligence division, stated in a whistle-blower complaint that information regarding Russian disinformation had been withheld because it “made the President look bad” before it was later leaked to the media and the public.

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