A Microsoft executive, speaking Thursday on a panel at the Aspen Ideas Festival, revealed that at least three candidates running in 2018 have been targeted by the same Russian intel agency behind the cyberatttacks on Democratic emails and systems in 2016, Buzzfeed reported.
Microsoft vice president for customer security and trust Tom Burt did not identify the candidates or their parties, according to Buzzfeed, but said that they were “all people who, because of their positions, might have been interesting targets from an espionage standpoint, as well as an election disruption standpoint.”
According to Buzzfeed, he said that Microsoft analysts uncovered a spearphishing campaign targeting the three candidates that linked back to a group believed to be run by the intel agency, the GRU.
Last Friday, a federal grand jury handed down charges against 12 Russians accused of the infiltrating the emails and systems of Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the Hillary Clinton campaign, including Clinton chairman John Podesta. The emails were released on Wikileaks and through two other websites that, according to special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment, were fronts for the GRU hacking effort.
President Trump — on the heels of a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin where he cast doubt on the intel community’s assessment that Russia was behind the 2016 hack —was asked by a reporter Wednesday if Russia was still targeting the United States. Trump appeared to answer “no,” but the White House has since argued that the “no” was not in response to the reporter’s question.