Microsoft: Iranian Hackers Targeted a 2020 Presidential Campaign

Microsoft disclosed today that Iranian state-sponsored hackers tried to hack into email accounts belonging to current and former US government officials, and members of a 2020 US presidential campaign. From a report: The attacks have taken place “in a 30-day period between August and September,” Tom Burt, Corporate Vice President, Customer Security & Trust at Microsoft, said today. Microsoft’s Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) linked the attacks to a group the company calls Phosphorous (other names are APT35, Charming Kitten, and the Ajax Security Team). The group has been linked to Iran’s government in reports from multiple cyber-security vendors. Burt said the group operated in different stages. It first made more than 2,700 probes to identify consumer email accounts belonging to specific Microsoft customers. Once the group had a list of high-value targets, it went after 241 of those accounts, which included “accounts are associated with a U.S. presidential campaign, current and former US government officials, journalists covering global politics and prominent Iranians living outside Iran.”