Russia-linked hackers 'targeted Macron campaign'

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According to research from cybersecurity firm Trend Micro, members of the hacking team known as Fancy Bear - called Pawn Storm by the report's author - created phishing domains related to the Macron campaign, such as "onedrive-en-marche.fr", plausibly similar to En Marche!, Macron's political party. But US spy agencies and a variety of "threat intelligence" firms said that Pawn Storm, an extraordinarily prolific group also known as Fancy Bear or APT 28, was an arm of Russia's intelligence apparatus.

French independent centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron urged national unity against the populist campaign of his rival Marine Le Pen. "Like the name suggests Pawn Storm will attack from different sides", Trend Micro explained.

"But we have analysed the operating tactics with data compiled over two years, which allowed us to determine the source".

On Monday, Mounir Mahjoubi, digital chief for the Macron campaign, confirmed there had been attempted intrusions but said they had all been thwarted.

"They take a great amount of energy to be able to disguise their attacks".

He said "nothing was compromised", however.

Hillary Clinton's campaign was targeted by Russian hackers.

"But we shouldn't be naive". The group was also linked to the recent hack of worldwide athletics body IAAF. "That was only a supposition", he said, based on the timing.

Other suspected Pawn Storm targets in recent months include media groups such as The New York Times and Al-Jazeera.

In particular, said Mr Hacquebord, the hacker group had registered several net domains similar to those already registered by the French politician's staff.

"To focus on such a range of targets over such a long time, you need plenty of human and financial resources", Guezo said.

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Peskov added that Russian Federation had "never interfered" in foreign elections.

"Which groups? Where do they come from?"

"It resembles the accusations made by Washington which to this day remain hollow, and they do no honour to the people making them".

The hackers reportedly sent out emails from accounts that looked a lot like official ones.

Russia-linked hackers targeted the French presidential campaign of front-runner Emmanuel Macron, according to an anti-virus firm.

Earlier this year, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told Russia's Izvestia newspaper that there may be evidence in Hillary Clinton's leaked emails that Macron had engaged in shady correspondence with the former secretary of state, traveling to the USA before announcing his campaign.

While Trend Micro's report did not connect the attack to the Kremlin, other experts have said that the hacking group is affiliated to the Russian government.

"What we can establish is that it's the classic operation procedure of Pawn Storm", the spokesman said.

But if a Russian connection was proved, the hacking would add to mounting allegations of Moscow-backed attempts to influence Western elections in favor of candidates with policies potentially more favorable to the Kremlin.

This post was syndicated from The Independent Uganda:.

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