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Iranian hackers targeted a U.S. presidential campaign, Microsoft says

Iranian hackers targeted a U.S. presidential campaign, Microsoft says
FILE PHOTO: Delegates autograph a Microsoft board at the opening of the Microsoft Corp; Africa development centre (ADC) in Nairobi, Kenya May 14, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer -
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(Reuters) – A hacking group that appears to be linked to the Iranian government has carried out a campaign against a U.S. presidential campaign, Microsoft Corp <MSFT.O> said on Friday.

Microsoft saw “significant” cyber activity by the group that also targeted current and former U.S. government officials, journalists covering global politics and prominent Iranians living outside Iran, the company said in a blog post.

In a 30-day period between August and September, the group, called “Phosphorous” by the company, made more than 2,700 attempts to identify consumer email accounts belonging to specific customers and then attacked 241 of those accounts. (http://bit.ly/2ngs5bZ)

Hacking to interfere in elections has become a concern for governments especially since United States intelligence agencies concluded that Russia ran an operation to disrupt the American democratic process in 2016 to also help then-Republican candidate Donald Trump become president.

Microsoft has been tracking Phosphorus since 2013 and said in March that it had received a court order to take control of 99 websites the group used to execute attacks. (https://bit.ly/2TDKee1)

Phosphorus is also known as APT 35, Charming Kitten, and Ajax Security Team, according to Microsoft.

(Reporting by Akanksha Rana and Vibhuti Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Grant McCool)

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