Microsoft steps in to battle US election related cyberattacks from Russia, China, and Iran

Kip Kniskern

Microsoft Cloud Partner Program

Much has been said about the effects of foreign interference in the 2016 presidential elections, but if anything, cyberattacks from foreign adversaries have increased in the leadup to the 2020 elections. Today, Microsoft, in their On the Issues corporate blog, detailed what it’s been doing to thwart attacks from Russia, China, and Iran to both personal accounts associated with presidential campaigns, and more than 200 political “campaigns, advocacy groups, parties, and political consultants.

Microsoft identified three major “foreign activity groups:” Strontium, operating from Russia and attacking organizations, Zirconium, operating from China and attacking high-profile individuals, including people associated with the Biden for President campaign, and Phosphorus, operating from Iran, and continuing to attack personal accounts of people associated with the Trump campaign.

The Microsoft blog post goes on to detail some of the methods and targets the groups are using, and says the company is “taking extra steps to protect customers involved in elections, government and policymaking.” The post goes on to call for more federal funding to protect the election infrastructure, and encourages Congress to “move forward with additional funding to the states and provide them with what they need to protect the vote and ultimately our democracy.”