A threat group, dubbed Phosphorus, that Microsoft believes to be linked to Iran’s government targeted email accounts associated with a presidential campaign as well as government officials, journalists and prominent Iranians living outside the country.

“In a 30-day period between August and September, the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) observed Phosphorus making more than 2,700 attempts to identify consumer email accounts belonging to specific Microsoft customers and then attack 241 of those accounts,” Tom Burt, Microsoft corporate vice president of customer security and trust, wrote in a blog post, noting that four accounts – not those of journalists or associated with the presidential campaign – were compromised.

“In many ways, this is an unsurprising report given that this particular Iranian cyber threat group has been operating since 2004 and targeting human rights activists, journalists and others,” said Jamil Jaffer, vice president of strategy and partnerships at IronNet Cybersecurity. “What is interesting in this report is the renewed focus, as part of a broader campaign, on American political and campaign officials.”

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