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Photo: NurPhoto / Contributor/Getty Images

Microsoft believes an Iranian group tried to hack 241 email accounts of “a U.S. presidential campaign, current and former U.S. government officials, journalists covering global politics and prominent Iranians living outside Iran,” the company said Friday in a blog post.

The impact: The hackers — who were apparently backed by Iran's government — targeted President Trump's re-election campaign, the New York Times reports. The group allegedly compromised 4 accounts, which Microsoft said did not belong to government officials or a presidential campaign.

The big picture: The hacking attempts were not technologically complicated, and often involved using personal information found through research to reset victim passwords, including breaching a user’s backup email account to leverage access to a primary Microsoft-managed account.

  • The group Microsoft believes is behind the hacks is well-documented and directed by the Iranian government. In different naming schemes, it is called APT 35, Charming Kitten, The Ajax Security Team and Phosphorus.

The motive of the hackers is not immediately clear. Though election tampering is likely at the front of the American psyche for the U.S. targets, most foreign espionage is just espionage — spying to gain information to better understand global affairs and negotiations.

Go deeper: For hacked campaigns, 2020 might as well be 2016

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
11 mins ago - World

Modi humbled by India's coronavirus crisis

Still looming large, in New Delhi. Photo: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg via Getty

After mishandling the worst domestic crisis India has faced in decades, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s approval ratings have plummeted … to 63%.

Breaking it down: While that’s down from 74% before India’s second wave struck, per Morning Consult’s tracker, it still makes him perhaps the most popular leader of any major democracy. But despite his enduring popularity, Modi no longer appears invulnerable.

Dave Lawler, author of World
Updated 49 mins ago - World

Israeli ground troops join the fight near Gaza, raising threat of war

Israeli troops prepare to fire shells toward the Gaza Strip. Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP via Getty Images

Israeli ground troops have joined the fight near the Gaza Strip, the Israel Defense Forces announced on Thursday night.

Driving the news: While tanks and artillery were deployed for the first time on Thursday, the IDF says no ground troops have crossed into Gaza. Israel has called up 9,000 reservists and massed at least three brigades on the frontier with Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas.