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. The report, released by the Trend Micro research group, did not disclose what possible fallout the infiltration had on the campaign of Emmanuel Macron, a centrist who is in a two-person runoff with far-right rival Marine Le Pen in the May 7 election. But if a Russian connection was proved, the hacking would add to mounting allegations of Moscow-backed attempts to influence Western elections in favor of candidates with policies potentially more favorable to the Kremlin. Le Pen has voiced opposition to the powers of the European Union and has called for better ties with Russia, echoing some of the campaign rhetoric of President Trump.
Tokyo-based Trend Micro said Macron’s campaign was targeted in March and April by a cyberspy group called “Pawn Storm.” It is the same group that has allegedly used phishing and malware to infiltrate other political organizations, such as Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party in Germany and the Democratic National Committee.
“There are several things which suggest that the group behind the Macron hacking was also responsible for the DNC breach, for example. We found similarities in the IP addresses and malware used in the attacks,” said Rik Ferguson, the vice president of the company’s security research program.