U.S. tech giant Microsoft said Thursday -- hackers linked to Russia, China, and Iran are trying to spy on people tied to both President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden.
The announcement highlights how advisers to both presidential campaigns are at risk from digital spies around the globe, as the two candidates prepare to face off in November.
The report came after Reuters revealed Microsoft had warned a Biden campaign advisory firm -- it's in the crosshairs of the same Russian hackers who intervened in the 2016 U.S. election.
A statement from the company points to a Russian intelligence-linked military unit widely known as Fancy Bear, accused of breaching Hillary Clinton's campaign emails.
Microsoft says the group spent the past year trying to break into accounts belonging to political consultants serving Republicans and Democrats, as well as advocacy organizations and think tanks.
The company also said Chinese hackers had gone after people quote "closely associated with U.S. presidential campaigns and candidates" including an unnamed Biden ally targeted through a personal email address, and quote "at least one prominent individual formerly associated with the Trump Administration." It added that Iranian hackers had since tried to log into accounts belonging to Trump administration officials and members of his campaign staff.
However, it says both the Chinese effort to compromise the Biden ally and the Iranian spying against the Trump campaign were unsuccessful.
The statement provided no detail on the hacking campaign attributed to Russia or the former Trump associate target.
The Biden and Trump campaigns both said they were aware of the targeting and weren't surprised by it.
A Russian Embassy official pushed back at the allegations, saying Americans had been discussing "so-called 'interference" for years without presenting what he described as "factual evidence." The Chinese Embassy in Washington and the Iranian mission to the United Nations also did not immediately return messages, but Beijing and Tehran have previously denied allegations of cyber espionage.
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[NFA] Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell joined other Republican lawmakers in rallying to the defense of constitutional government on Thursday, after President Donald Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power following the Nov. 3 election. This report produced by Jonah Green.