Microsoft says a hacker group with ties to Iran has targeted a U.S. presidential campaign, in the latest sign that foreign governments may try to influence the 2020 election.
In a blog post published Friday, Tom Burt, a Microsoft security executive, said the company has seen “significant cyber activity” by a group it is calling Phosphorus. Burt said Microsoft believes the group “originates from Iran and is linked to the Iranian government,” although he did not say how the company reached that conclusion.
A Microsoft spokesman declined to name the campaign, citing privacy concerns. Burt said the hackers also tried to break into the accounts of current and former U.S. government officials, journalists covering politics and prominent Iranians living outside Iran.
The attacks took place in August and September, according to Microsoft. Burt said hackers made more than 2,700 attempts to identify email accounts connected to specific customers and carried out attacks on 241 of those accounts.