Britain, Ger­many brace for cy­ber at­tacks

New Straits Times - - News -

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JACK MALIA, Van­u­atu tribesman, on Prince Philip

MON­DAY, MAY 8, 2017 LON­DON: Britain and Ger­many are beef­ing up cy­ber se­cu­rity ahead of key elec­tions even be­fore the hack­ing at­tack on France’s Em­manuel Macron, months af­ter Hil­lary Clin­ton was caught in the on­line crosshairs.

Tak­ing note of the events in the US and France, in­tel­li­gence au­thor­i­ties in Britain and Ger­many are tak­ing steps to pre­vent cy­ber at­tacks ahead of their own hot­ly­con­tested elec­tions.

For cy­ber se­cu­rity ex­pert Ewan Law­son, po­lit­i­cal par­ties are easy tar­gets be­cause they “quite of­ten do not have par­tic­u­larly ro­bust cy­ber se­cu­rity”.

“They are not-for-profit and do not have a lot of money to throw at the prob­lem,” he said. “So, I think we could rea­son­ably ex­pect to see data breaches and theft.”

Britain’s Na­tional Cy­ber Se­cu­rity Cen­tre (NCSC) said it was on “high alert” the day af­ter Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May sur­prised the coun­try last month by call­ing for a gen­eral elec­tion on June 8.

NCSC con­vened the United King­dom’s main po­lit­i­cal par­ties to a “tech­ni­cal sem­i­nar” in March to pro­vide them with prac­ti­cal steps to re­duce the risk, as well as ad­vise on in­ci­dent man­age­ment.

Ger­man au­thor­i­ties had taken sim­i­lar steps ahead of Septem­ber’s gen­eral elec­tion.

Arne Schoen­bohm, pres­i­dent of Ger­many’s Fed­eral Of­fice for In­for­ma­tion Se­cu­rity, had said in March that govern­ment net­works were at­tacked “on a daily ba­sis”.

She said as a pre­cau­tion, the BSI ap­proached elec­tion of­fi­cials and po­lit­i­cal par­ties to dis­cuss how they could pro­tect them­selves.

Ger­many had been fac­ing “in­creas­ingly ag­gres­sive cy­ber es­pi­onage”, as well as “fur­ther at­tacks”, do­mes­tic in­tel­li­gence chief Hans-Ge­org Maassen said on Thurs­day. AFP

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