(Noted News) — Less than 2 months out from the 2020 U.S election, Microsoft has alerted one of Joe Biden’s main advisors that the Democratic nominee’s presidential campaign was targeted by Russian-state backed hackers.
According to Reuters, the hackers targeted Washington D.C based campaign strategy firm SKDKnickerbocker, who works for Biden and other high profile democrat politicians. Neither the advisory firm, nor Microsoft, has confirmed whether or not the hackers were specifically targeting Biden or other clients of the firm.
It is not yet clear how Microsoft got involved in the investigation, but they have already stated their belief that the group responsible for compromising the computer systems of SKDKnickerbocker are the same Russian based hackers that hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails in 2016.
The hacking of Clinton’s emails in 2016 led to a series of massive scandals and speculations involving Clinton and her colleagues which Democrats argued interfered with the democratic process and led to a Donald Trump victory, something Democrats fear a repeat of.
The group allegedly responsible for the 2016 hack, and now the hack on SKDK, is known only as “Fancy Bear”, who, according to some U.S Intelligence agents, is an asset of the Russian military intelligence complex, and is used as a weapon to interfere with various elections around the world.
Despite the reports from Democrats, Microsoft, and various American officials, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has called the allegations “nonsense”, and Moscow has never confessed to any wrongdoing since the accusations began in 2016.
Three of Reuters’ sources described the strategy of the hacking as phishing, a technique that attempts to lure the victim into submitting passwords or other sensitive information. Hillary Rosen, the Vice-Chair of SKDK decline to comment on the matter, but representatives from Biden’s campaign did confirm that an entity of some sort had indeed tried to access “non-campaign email accounts of individuals affiliated with the campaign.”
Donald Trump and his administration have always denied any collusion with any foreign governments to win elections, once telling 60 Minutes “Do you really think I’d call Russia to help me with an election? Give me a break. They wouldn’t be able to help me at all. Call Russia…So ridiculous.”
The news of more alleged Russian hacking leading up to the U.S election comes following Microsoft’s new campaign of “Defending Democracy”, which according to Microsoft, is an initiative that aims to “work with stakeholders including governments, non-government organizations, academics and industry all in democratic countries globally to protect campaigns from hacking; increase political advertising transparency online; explore technological solutions to preserve and protect electoral processes, and defend against disinformation campaigns.”
This is not the first episode of Russia-based drama for 2020.
In June, there were allegations from insiders of the CIA that the Russian military had offered bounties on American soldiers in Afghanistan to Taliban militants. President Trump also referred to these allegations as a hoax and White House Spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said that the president wasn’t briefed on the claims, saying that rogue intelligence officers were likely behind the leak to the New York Times.
“This president I’ll tell you is the most informed person on planet earth when it comes to the threats that we face,” said McEnany.
It is not clear how Microsoft intends to continue its efforts in “defending democracy”, but the technology behemoth has a huge ability to surveil and analyze the use of their widely used Windows operating systems and cloud services like Office 365.