Microsoft has found that three threat groups – Strontium, Zirconium and Phosphorus – are conducting cyber attacks against individuals and organizations involved in the upcoming U.S. presidential elections in November.
The Strontium group operating from Russia has carried out a series of cyber attacks since September 2019 targeting more than 200 organizations, including political consultants, campaigns, parties and advocacy groups, to compromise users’ accounts for use in intelligence gathering efforts, Tom Burt, corporate vice president for customer security and trust at Microsoft, wrote in a blog post published Thursday.
Since March, Microsoft has identified thousands of cyber attacks launched by the Zirconium group targeting individuals associated with U.S. presidential candidates and campaigns, including the Joe Biden for President campaign. The company said the group operates from China.
A threat group working from Iran, dubbed Phosphorus, has made an attempt to access the work or personal accounts of people associated with the U.S. presidential elections, including those involved in the Donald J. Trump for President campaign.
Microsoft has urged local and state election officials to strengthen their operations and prepare for cyber attacks and called for more federal funding to help states better safeguard their election infrastructure.
“We encourage Congress to move forward with additional funding to the states and provide them with what they need to protect the vote and ultimately our democracy,” Burt wrote.