Back on September 10, 2020, Microsoft claimed that it’s been experiencing an increase in cyber attacks coming from Russia, China, and Iran.
It alleges that these attacks are being carried out against political groups and the presidential campaigns of President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.
In a blog post, Tom Burt, the corporate vice president of customer security and trust at Microsoft, explained how three major hacking groups targeted the campaigns in addition to other political organizations and individuals.
“The activity we are announcing today makes clear that foreign activity groups have stepped up their efforts targeting the 2020 election as had been anticipated, and is consistent with what the U.S. government and others have reported,” Burt stated.
The Russian hacking group “Strontium” reportedly targeted over 200 organizations, political campaigns, and parties during the last year. On top of that, American-based consultants in the Democratic and Republican parties, think tanks such as the German Marshall Fund, and political parties in the United Kingdom were also subject to attacks from Strontium.
Strontium, which is also known as “Fancy Bear,” is the group that allegedly hacked the Democratic National Committee networks in 2016. In 2017, Microsoft pursued legal action against the group in 2017 and a federal court ordered the group to stop attacking Microsoft customers and using Microsoft logos in its email phishing campaigns.
“Strontium has evolved its tactics since the 2016 election to include new reconnaissance tools and new techniques to obfuscate their operations,” Burt commented. “In 2016, the group primarily relied on spear phishing to capture people’s credentials. In recent months, it has engaged in brute force attacks and password spray, two tactics that have likely allowed them to automate aspects of their operations.”
On September 10, 2020, Microsoft announced a second hacking effort which involved the Chinese-based hacking group “Zirconium.” According to Microsoft, the group attempted “thousands” of attacks between May and September and were able to achieve successful compromises in 150 cases.
Some of the individuals that Zirconium unsuccessfully targeted were Biden campaign staffers. The group was apparently going after non-campaign emails. The group also targeted an unnamed Trump administration official alongside figures in the foreign policy community, which included individuals 15 universities and groups such as the Atlantic Council and the Stimson Center.
“Zirconium, operating from China, has attempted to gain intelligence on organizations associated with the upcoming U.S. presidential election,” Burt declared.
Furthermore, Microsoft also mentioned attacks by the Iranian hacker group “Phosphorus”, which launched attacks against the personal accounts of Trump campaign staffers. Phosphorus was especially active in May and June in attempting to access personal or work email accounts of the staffers.
Burt highlighted how the majority of the three groups’ attempted cyberattacks were unsuccessful, and that all of the accounts subject to attacks or compromises were notified about this.
Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), who is part of the Senate Intelligence Committee, declared in a statement that “Microsoft’s warning is consistent with the Intelligence Community’s long-standing assessments: China and Russia want to sow distrust ahead of the 2020 election.”
“In Beijing, Chairman Xi wants Biden to win; in Moscow, Vladimir Putin wants Trump to win; both of these miserable SOBs have the same goal of turning Americans against each other,” Sasse opined. “The United States needs to make it clear that China and Russia will face severe consequences for hacks and disinformation campaigns. Chinese communists and Russian oligarchs don’t get to vote in America’s elections.”
Despite all the complaints about foreign interference in the 2020 elections, it is amusing that there is no talk about electoral interference coming from Big Tech. For example, Google has been actively erasing Breitbart content from its search results since the 2016 election.
Yet, no one wants to talk about this form of election tampering. Big Tech overlords have demonstrated through their long track record of censorship that free speech is not a priority for them. It’s small wonder why many America First voices — from Vincent James to Nick Fuentes — have been given the boot from platforms such as YouTube.
It cannot be overstated the role that independent nationalist voices have had in bringing people like President Donald Trump into office. Through censorship, Trump will be deprived of his most energetic voices to stump for him across social media. If the Dissident Right is wiped off the Internet, America can kiss any prospect of having a proper nationalist movement goodbye. That’s why the battle for free speech is so important. Everything else, minus immigration, should be de-prioritized.
Although, there may be rival powers interfering in American elections, the U.S. can simply boost its cybersecurity infrastructure. It’s not a difficult concept. When the ruling class was nation-building abroad, they should have been bolstering actual defense i.e. focusing on cybersecurity.
At the end of the day, America’s largest problems come from within. No matter what neoconservatives and neoliberals say, the biggest threats to Americans are situated in D.C. and Silicon Valley.