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Suspected Russian hackers target Biden campaign adviser: report

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Russian state-backed hackers are reportedly suspected of targeting staff at a top advisory firm working with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign. 

Microsoft alerted the Biden campaign that the hacking attempt was directed at employees of SKDKnickerbocker (SKDK), a campaign strategy and communications firm that has worked with Biden’s team for the past two months, Reuters reported, citing three unidentified sources. 

A person familiar with the cyberattack told the news service that the actors failed to get access to the company’s network. It remains unclear what the hackers were after and whether it was something connected to the Biden campaign. 

Microsoft reportedly contacted the campaign after determining that actors associated with the Russian government were likely involved. The hacks are said to have involved phishing, a method used to gain access to passwords. 

The Biden campaign and SKDK did not immediately return requests for comment from The Hill. 

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov pushed back against the allegations, telling Reuters they were “nonsense.” 

The report comes as lawmakers voice growing concerns about the threat of election interference. The U.S. intelligence community has said Russia, Iran and China are working to meddle in November’s election, which has prompted worries from some about how prepared state officials are for such a threat. 

U.S. intelligence concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to harm Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and boost President Trump. William Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, warned last month that Moscow’s efforts in this election were focused primarily on denigrating Biden. 

In July, Evanina said that Russia was actively working to spread disinformation to undermine the elections and weaken U.S. institutions. He also said China’s interference efforts were largely focused on shaping “the policy environment” in the U.S. and that Beijing preferred Biden because it found Trump unpredictable.  

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Biden’s running mate, said earlier this week that she believes Russia will be at “the front of line” when it comes to foreign interference linked to the 2020 election. 

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