10:07 GMT21 September 2020
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    Earlier Thursday, Reuters reported that Microsoft had informed an election campaign advisory firm working with Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden that it had been unsuccessfully targeted by 'Russian state-backed hackers' over the past two months.

    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has dismissed the latest report about alleged Russian hackers targeting the Biden campaign, calling it "nonsense."

    "No, we do not know about it. We don't know which company [is allegedly involved], or what 'Russian state-backed' means," Peskov said, speaking to reporters on Thursday.

    "It looks like another piece of nonsense which is unfortunately sometimes published by a respectable news agency," he added.

    Earlier, Reuters reported that Microsoft had informed Biden advisory firm SKDKnickerbocker that 'state-backed hackers' from Russia had attempted to target the consulting firm in a series of phishing attacks over the past two months, but that their dastardly plot was foiled by the company's 'well-defended' network security.

    Microsoft did not immediately comment on the Reuters report, with the Biden campaign and SKDKnickerbocker similarly yet to make any statements.

    US officials began accusing Moscow of engaging in systemic hacking, trolling and meddling efforts during the 2016 election campaign, even accusing Donald Trump of 'colluding' with the Kremlin to get elected. The latter claims fell apart in April 2019 with the release of the Mueller report, which found no evidence whatsoever of any collusion. Similarly, investigations by Google, Facebook and Twitter found no evidence of any systemic online Russian 'meddling' campaign. Last month, an investigation by members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) found that Guccifer 2.0, the cyber entity which claimed to have hacked the Democratic National Committee in 2016 and helped start the 'Russian meddling claims', concluded that the hacking group was a likely front for the Central Intelligence Agency.

    Notwithstanding this information, US officials have continued to accuse the Russian state of trying to meddling in the US democratic process, with a Senate report recently concluding that Russia "engaged in an aggressive, multi-faceted effort to influence, or attempt to influence, the outcome of the 2016 presidential election." Last month, Homeland Security acting secretary Chad Wolf reported that the Trump administration had "run out" of Russians to sanction over the alleged meddling in 2016.

    This week, the DHS released an intelligence bulletin about Russia's alleged efforts to spread "unsubstantiated allegations" about Biden's mental health.


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