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Microsoft report about Russian interference in US election lacks proof — Kremlin

Microsoft claims that a hacker group called Strontium, allegedly operating from Russia, carried out attacks against 200 organizations, including election teams, human rights groups and parties

MOSCOW, September 11. /TASS/. Microsoft’s conclusions Russia allegedly interfered in the US election do not deserve attention as long as there is no substantial proof, Russian presidential spokesman, Dmitry Peskov told the media on Friday.

"Since the end of 2016 (when the first claims emerged that a group of ‘Russian hackers’ had been exposed) we have not seen any sensible arguments, proof or anything else <...> that might indicate that some organizations related to Russia might have been involved in some cybercrime," Peskov said.

"You will agree that there was no sensible information then. There were some absolutely groundless charges, some phobias that there must be Russian cyber monsters behind any cybercrime. If this [Microsoft report] follows the same pattern, it is merely indicative of low qualification. If there are some professional arguments there [in the Microsoft report], then they should be turned an attentive ear to, of course," Peskov said.

The presidential spokesman said he had not seen the Microsoft report himself yet and asked journalists to quote some of the arguments the company’s analysts had used. "What makes Microsoft think that it was a group of Russian hackers?" he asked. "What makes them think that they were Chinese, Iranian and Russian [hackers]? Does the report say so? Why didn’t they say that there had been French or Polish hackers, or an Estonian group involved?"

Peskov promised he would make more comments on this issue as soon as journalists found in the published report at least some proof that the cyber criminals belonged to a certain country.

In response to a quote from the report read out by journalists that US intelligence officials had allegedly found evidence of Russia’s meddling in the elections Peskov said that "the US intelligence has repeatedly made mistakes and this was recognized in the process of various investigations and parliamentary probes."

"It was recognized by US legislators themselves and their commissions that looked into Russia’s rumored interference in elections. Then there followed official conclusions by these commissions that Russia had not interfered in the elections," he said. The Kremlin spokesman called for interpreting such reports "with far greater tolerance."

"We’ve heard all this many times, to our regret. I can merely say once again that Russia did not intervene, does not intervene and has no intention to intervene in any country’s internal affairs or election processes. Likewise, we strongly dislike it when others try to meddle in our affairs," Peskov said.

Microsoft’s report on 'interference' in US election

The US corporation Microsoft on Thursday claimed that hackers from Russia, Iran and China were behind cyberattacks against individuals and organizations related to the forthcoming US presidential election.

Microsoft claims that a hacker group called Strontium (also known under the nickname Fancy Bear - TASS), allegedly operating from Russia, carried out attacks against 200 organizations, including election teams, human rights groups and parties.

Groups operating from China and Iran are alleged to have targeted senior officials connected with the election teams of Donald Trump and Joseph Biden. The company said that its protection instruments had timely exposed and prevented most of these attacks. All of the organizations and individuals that were reportedly attacked received corresponding notifications from Microsoft.