One of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s main campaign firms was alerted by Microsoft of a possible hack attempt by suspected Russian-government backed actors, Reuters reported on Thursday, raising concerns of foreign interference in the upcoming elections akin to 2016.
The hacking attempts targeted staff at SKDKnickerbocker—a Washington-based campaign strategy firm working with Biden — over the last two months, Reuters reported, citing three sources briefed on the issue.
According to a source cited by the report, SKDK’s network was “well-defended,” and it prevented the hackers from gaining access.
SKDK was reportedly flagged about the attempted hack by Microsoft, which identified Russian government-backed hackers as the likely culprits.
The breach attempts in question were phishing attacks, where hackers attempt to gain sensitive data from users including passwords by pretending to be trustworthy entities.
Later on Thursday, a Kremlin spokesperson dismissed the reports saying they “look like nonsense.”
The firm SKDK is closely associated with the Democratic Party, the report added, noting that it had worked on six presidential campaigns along with two successful governor campaigns in Kansas and Connecticut in 2018.
An investigation into foreign interference in the 2016 elections by former special counsel Robert Mueller and the Senate intelligence committee both concluded that Russian government-backed entities had interfered in the presidential election. In 2019, Mueller warned that Russia is likely to interfere again in the 2020 elections. Late last month, President Trump announced the cancellation of election security briefings by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to the House and Senate Select Committees on Intelligence, raising alarm among Democrats. Last month, top election security official Bill Evanina issued a warning that threats to the November election could come from Russia, China and Iran—prompting Democrats to call for information about these threats to be publicly released.
Russian state hackers suspected in targeting Biden campaign firm – sources (Reuters)
Trump Says Intelligence Briefings On Election Canceled Because Of ‘Leakers’—Democrats Call It ‘Deeply Alarming’ (Forbes)