Microsoft, a multinational technology company headquartered in the USA, revealed in a blog post that hackers from foreign states have actively targeted people and organizations involved in the upcoming Presidential elections. The attacks, predominantly coming from Iran, China, and Russia, have been aimed at people associated with both Joe Biden and President Donald Trump. The office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) also issued a press release confirming that foreign states are actively trying to interfere with the upcoming voting process in the USA, and their actions are actively trying to undermine the American people’s confidence in the country’s democratic process.
The state-sponsored bad actors are trying to steal sensitive data, call into question the validity of the election results, and sway the American voters’ preferences and perspectives. According to the press release published by DNI, foreign state-backed hackers from many countries have preferences for who to win the elections in the USA. The DNI is mainly concerned by the continuous attacks from cybercriminals backed by China, Iran, and Russia. The attacks are not only aimed at the major political parties in the USA but are also targeting various institutions and enterprises.
According to the information released by the DNI, China and Iran actively support Joe Biden’s campaign. On the other hand, Russia-sponsored hacker groups seem to be more interested in seeing the re-election of President Donald Trump. According to DNI’s press release, they have provided more than fifteen classified election threat briefings to the presidential campaigns, political committees, and all Members of Congress over the last few months.
Russia’s Strontium hacker group has aimed at more than two hundred organizations that include political campaigns, advocacy groups, parties, and political consultants. The same hackers were able to successfully penetrate the Democrats in 2016 and attempt to perform similar intrusions in this election. Zirconium, a Chinese-backed cybercriminal group, and Phosphorus, Iran backed bad actors, have been trying to strike high-profile individuals predominantly from the Republican party.
The United States of America is the country with the highest GDP in the world, and it is one of the most influential ones in the world. The upcoming presidential election will impact hundreds of millions of Americans and billions of people from other countries across the globe. Both China and Iran have seen strong opposition by the current US administration, while Kremlin-linked actors have actively boosting President Trump’s candidacy on various print and online media platforms.
No matter which road the Americans decide to take, the 2020 presidential elections should be their own choice. Cyberattacks against political campaigns and government infrastructure must not be tolerated, secret funding or influence operations to help or harm a person or cause must not be taking place in the USA, and disinformation campaigns on social media platforms that aim to confuse, trick, or upset the public must have to be stopped in their infancy. Foreign efforts to meddle in the upcoming elections must not be tolerated and must be considered a direct threat to USA’s democracy.