State-sponsored hackers from China have targeted workers who are working on Democratic Joe Biden's US presidential campaign, a senior Google security official said Thursday. The same official said Iranian hackers recently targeted email accounts of Republican President Donald Trump's campaign staff.
The announcement made by Google Threat Analysis Group leader Shane Huntley on Twitter is the latest reference to digital espionage, which is routinely targeted at top politicians.
Huntley said there was "no sign of compromise" for either campaign.
Iranian attempts to infiltrate Trump campaign officials have been documented. In the past year, Microsoft Corp.
Earlier this year, Area 1 Security, a threat intelligence company, said Russian hackers were targeting companies tied to a Ukrainian gas company where Biden's son was once on the board.
Google declined to provide details beyond Huntley's tweets, but the unusually public attribution is a sign of how sensitive Americans have become to digital espionage efforts that target political campaigns.
"We sent our government-sponsored standard attack alert to target users and forwarded this information to the federal law enforcement agencies," said a Google representative.
Hacking to get involved in elections has become a problem for governments, especially since U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russia conducted a hacking and propaganda operation in 2016 to disrupt the U.S. democratic process and to help the then Trump candidate to become president. The goals included the digital infrastructure used by Hillary Clinton's campaign for democratic presidential candidate in 2016
Moscow has denied any interference.
Attempts by foreign opponents to intrude on presidential campaigns are commonplace, but Google's unusual public attribution is a sign of how sensitive Americans have become to digital spy efforts aimed at candidates.
"We are aware of reports from Google that a foreign actor unsuccessfully tried to access the campaign staff members' personal email accounts," said a spokesman for the Biden campaign. "We knew from the start of our campaign that we would be exposed to such attacks and we are prepared for it."
The Trump campaign, the Chinese embassy in Washington and the Iranian mission to the United Nations in New York did not immediately respond to requests for comments.
Charming Kitten, the group identified by Google as targeting the Trump campaign, has also recently made headlines about other exploits, including targeting pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences Inc.
Earlier this year, Reuters linked the group to attempts to pretend to be high-profile media and journalists.
John Hultquist, Senior Director for Intelligence Analysis at FireEye Inc., an American cyber security firm.
The FBI and the Office of the Director of the National Secret Service declined to comment.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)