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Chinese, Iranian hackers targeting Trump, Biden election campaigns, says Google

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on June 05, 2020 Published on June 05, 2020

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Google’s Threat Analysis Group (TAG) recently witnessed attempts by state-backed hackers from China and Iran to target the election campaigns of United States presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

“Recently TAG saw China APT group targeting Biden campaign staff & Iran APT targeting Trump campaign staff with phishing. No sign of compromise. We sent users our govt attack warning and we referred to fed law enforcement,” tweeted Shane Huntley, director for Google’s Threat Analysis Group.

Google confirmed this finding in an official statement to TechCrunch and said that it has witnessed phishing attempts by a Chinese group targeting the personal email accounts of Biden campaign staff . Furthermore, an Iranian group also targeted the personal email accounts of Trump campaign staff. However, these attempts were unsuccessful and federal services had been warned of the same.

Biden’s campaign staff were aware of the attempts and had been prepared for the same, TechCrunch reported.

In a follow-up tweet, Huntley said the groups were likely to be China’s APT31 and Iran’s APT35.

“The groups involved are ones referred to as APT31 and APT35,” he tweeted.

Huntley had further advised campaign workers to strengthen the cybersecurity of their accounts.

“If you are working on a campaign this election cycle, your personal accounts may be targeted. Use the best protection you can. Two-factor authentication or Advanced Protection really can make a difference,” he said.

These attempts are not a new occurrence. Owing to previous hacking attempts, both Democrats and Republicans have improved the cybersecurity of their campaign. The Democrats had recently updated their security checklist for campaigns and had provided recommendations to counter disinformation. The Republicans are conducting training sessions to educate campaign officials about the same, reports said.

Published on June 05, 2020
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