Miscrosoft Detects Several Hundred Attempts at Infiltration By Political Parties and Organizations

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Miscrosoft Detects Several Hundred Attempts at Infiltration By Political Parties and Organizations

Tech giant Microsoft says it has detected more than 740 infiltration attempts by nation-state actors in the past year targeting U.S.-based political parties, campaigns and other democracy-focused organizations including think tanks and other nonprofits.

However a company spokeswoman would not name or further characterize the targets. All of them subscribe to Microsoft’s year-old AccountGuard service, which provides free cyberthreat detection to candidates, campaigns and other mostly election-related groups.

Microsoft did not say how many infiltration attempts were successful but noted in a blog post Wednesday that such targeting similarly occurred in the early stages of the 2016 and 2018 elections.

“Cyberattacks continue to be a significant tool and weapon wielded in cyberspace,” Microsoft said. “In some instances, those attacks appear to be related to ongoing efforts to attack the democratic process.

A year ago, Microsoft said it had detected attempts to infiltrate the networks of U.S. senatorial candidates and think tanks.

“As we head into the 2020 elections, given both the broad reliance on cyberattacks by nation-states and the use of cyberattacks to specifically target democratic processes, we anticipate that we will see attacks targeting U.S. election systems, political campaigns or NGOs that work closely with campaigns,” Microsoft said.

Microsoft made the announcement at the Aspen Security Forum, where it demonstrated a voting system, using the company’s ElectionGuard software, which it says “can enable a new era of secure, verifiable voting.”

The company said the software is open source, and it’s open to having it be used by suppliers that build and sell voting systems.