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Hackers with alleged ties to Iran have attacked the US presidential campaign, according to Microsoft

October 4, 2019


Microsoft Corp. said Friday that a group of hackers called “Phosphorus”, with alleged ties to the Government of Iran, has carried out a series of attacks against the US presidential campaign.

In a statement posted on his blog, he pointed to “significant cyber activity” by this group, which the company believes “originates in Iran and is linked to the Iranian government.”

Thus, he has detailed that “during a period of 30 days between August and September” this group made “more than 2,700 attempts to identify user accounts from specific Microsoft customers and then attacked 241 of those accounts.”

“The attacked accounts are associated with a presidential campaign in the United States, members and former members of the United States Government, journalists covering international politics and prominent Iranians living outside the country,” he added.

Microsoft has confirmed that “four accounts were compromised,” although it has indicated that “none of them are linked to the presidential campaign in the United States or to members or former members of the US Government.”

Finally, he stressed that “while the attacks were not technically sophisticated,” attempts “suggest that 'Phosphorus' is highly motivated and determined to invest significant time and resources in the search for other means of collecting information.”

The company has been following the group's activities since 2013 and in March revealed that it had received authorization from a court to take over 99 web pages used by 'Phosphorus' to execute attacks.

Sources familiar with the situation have indicated, in statements to the Reuters news agency, that the attempts of hackers were focused on the campaign of President Donald Trump, although they would have been unsuccessful.

Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said he “has no evidence that the campaign infrastructure has been attacked.”