Factbox: Russian, Iranian and other hackers target 2020 U.S. election


FILE PHOTO: Silhouettes of laptop users are seen next to a screen projection of binary code are seen in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. intelligence officials and researchers at major internet firms say hackers from around the globe have targeted the 2020 U.S. election, including the campaigns of President Donald Trump and his challenger, Joe Biden.

Below is a partial list of the publicly reported hacks and disinformation operations blamed on foreign actors in the run-up to next week's vote.

- Russian hackers targeted the California and Indiana Democratic parties

The group of Russian hackers accused of meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election earlier this year targeted email accounts of Democratic state parties in California and Indiana, people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. The same set of cyber spies are alleged to have pursued influential think tanks in Washington and New York.

- Iranian hackers targeted voters in Florida and elsewhere

A group of Iranian hackers sent thousands of threatening messages to voters in several states, including Florida, according to U.S. officials. People familiar with the matter told Reuters that analysts were able rapidly to attribute the emails to Iran because of a redaction error made by the hackers in the video they attached to some of the messages.

- Chinese hackers targeted Biden associates

In September Microsoft provided the most detailed pre-election breakdown of how foreign hackers were trying to snoop on the vote, alleging that Chinese hackers had targeted "people associated with the Joe Biden for President campaign." Microsoft also detailed similar activity by Russian and Iranian hackers.

- Russians tried to turn Americans against one another on social media

Facebook and Twitter have repeatedly announced the dismantlement of foreign operations aimed at swaying American's minds - including the removal of a fake left-wing news site run out of Russia that was critical of Biden. Reuters later identified a mirror site geared toward U.S. right wingers.

- Iranian hackers failed to break into Trump's campaign in 2019

In one of the earliest warnings tied to the 2020 presidential contest, Microsoft warned in October of last year that Iranian hackers had unsuccessfully targeted an unspecified presidential campaign. Reuters identified the campaign as being Trump's.

(Reporting by Raphael Satter; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

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