Russian hackers target French presidential candidate

Emmanuel Macron's campaign said its staff received phishing emails meant to steal their passwords.

French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron attends an event on Monday in Paris. Macron's campaign confirmed to the Wall Street Journal on Monday that hackers have tried to steal campaign staff email passwords.
Aurelien Meunier, Getty Images

Russian hackers targeting the emails of a prominent politician? The French presidential election has been hit with a case of déjà vu.

Trend Micro has found signs of a phishing attack targeting French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron, the cybersecurity firm said in a report set to be published Tuesday. The sites could have tricked campaign staff into entering their usernames and passwords and allowing malicious software to infect their computers, the company said.

Macron, of the En Marche party, will face off against National Front candidate Marine Le Pen, in a contest for the presidency on May 7. Macron's campaign confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that its staffers received emails leading to fraudulent websites, but that the attempts were blocked.

Trend Micro said the hacking group behind the phishing attempts was "Pawn Storm," its name for a group tracked for years by the security researchers. Cybersecurity company CrowdStrike calls the group "Fancy Bear" and has tied the hackers to Russia's military intelligence unit, called GRU. CrowdStrike researchers said they found the same group intruding in the networks of the Democratic National Committee one year ago.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov told Russian news outlets that the country was not interfering with the French election, or any foreign election, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Russian Embassy in the US didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.