Russian hackers hit French presidential front runner Emmanuel Macron's campaign: Trend Micro

Russian hackers are targeting the campaign of French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron, say security experts.

A spokesman for French government cybersecurity agency ANSSI confirmed the existence of attacks on the Macron campaign to Reuters but did not attribute the phishing emails to Russian hackers, specifically. "If you are speed reading as you sign on, and everybody speed reads online, it's something you might not notice", Mahjoubi said.

It's unclear exactly why the elite team of hackers - known as APT-28, Fancy Bear or Pawn Storm - focused so heavily on the Qatar-based, state-funded global broadcaster during that short window.

During the campaign, Russian media strongly attacked Macron, a former investment banker, accusing him of being a "fraud" and a tool of the USA banking industry.

A security firm claimed Tuesday that a new cyberattack against the campaign offices of the front-runner in France's presidential race carried similar digital "fingerprints" to the suspected Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee and others.

But Macron's opponent, Le Pen - like Trump in the US - has expressed a desire to improve relations with Putin's government and would "undermine Western institutions" in the eyes of the Kremlin, Will Pomeranz of the Woodrow Wilson Center told CNN. Macron, a centrist who advocates a strong pro-EU stance to combat meddling from Moscow, has accused Russian Federation of intervening in France's elections in the past.

Macron and Le Pen were the top vote-getters in Sunday's first-round presidential elections, and will face one another in a runoff May 7.

A security researcher called The Grugq, who is known as an expert on operational security, said Mr Macron's campaign was an easier target than some because of its reliance on the Telegram app for messaging.

Trend Micro researcher Feike Hacquebord said that determining who was behind a spying campaign was a hard challenge in the world of cybersecurity, but that he was nearly certain.

Macron, a liberal internationalist is not a big fan of Putin while e Le Pen has loaned cash from Russian banks and advocated pro-Kremlin policies.

The group's most recent target, according to Trend Micro, is the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, a German political think tank, which was hit with a phishing campaign on March 5.

French independent centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron urged national unity against the populist campaign of his rival Marine Le Pen. Many observers fear a repeat of the USA electoral contest in 2016, when hackers allegedly backed by Moscow broke into the email inboxes of the Democratic National Committee and other political operatives. Pilfered documents subsequently appeared on WikiLeaks and other more mysterious websites, putting the Democrats on the defensive during their losing campaign against Donald Trump. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.

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