Foreign hackers targeted the personal email accounts of staffers on the presidential campaigns of Democratic primary candidate Joe Biden and President Donald Trump, Reuters reported. It appears that state-backed hackers from China tried to target staffers on the Biden campaign, while Iranian hackers targeted the email accounts of Trump campaign staff.
Shane Huntley, the head of Google’s Threat Analysis Group, tweeted that the hackers had made phishing attempts on campaign staffers’ emails, but there had been “no sign of compromise.”
A Google spokesperson said in a post that the company had not seen evidence that any of the attempted attacks had been successful and that it had sent the information to federal law enforcement officials. “We encourage campaign staff to use extra protection for their work and personal emails, and we offer security resources such as our Advanced Protection Program and free security keys for qualifying campaigns,” the spokesperson said.
Matt Hill, deputy national press secretary for the Biden campaign, says the campaign was aware of the phishing attempt and had been braced for something like this to happen. “We have known from the beginning of our campaign that we would be subject to such attacks and we are prepared for them,” Hill told the blogpost in an email, adding that the campaign takes cybersecurity seriously and “will remain vigilant against these threats.”
Email hacking is a particularly fraught issue for US political campaigns after Russian hackers successfully phished the Democratic National Committee in 2016, exposing thousands of emails.