GCHQ advises British political parties how to withstand attacks from Russian cyber-attackers

Telegraph Reporters
GCHQ's National Cyber Security Centre - Press Association Images

GCHQ spies have warned political parties of the threat Russian hackers pose to democracy.

Seminars will be held to educate politicians on the threat from the Kremlin after its spies were accused of carrying out cyber-attacks to tamper with US and German elections.

Ciaran Martin, chief executive of GCHQ's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), has written to leaders of all the main political parties to offer advice on how to withstand attacks, according to The Sunday Times.

In the letter, he said: "You will be aware of the coverage of events in the United States, Germany and elsewhere reminding us of the potential for hostile action against the UK political system.

"This is not just about the network security of political parties' own systems. Attacks against our democratic processes go beyond this and can include attacks on parliament, constituency offices, think tanks and pressure groups and individuals' email accounts."

In February, Mr Martin warned that 188 high-level cyber-attacks, "many of which threatened national security", had struck Britain in the previous three months.

National Cyber Security Centre CEO Ciaran Martin - Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Chancellor Philip Hammond, a former defence and foreign secretary, also said the NCSC had been blocking "potential attacks" on Government departments and the public at a rate of around 200 hacks a day.

US intelligence services have accused the Kremlin of breaching Democratic National Committee computers in an attempt to interfere with the presidential election won by Donald Trump.

Germany's domestic intelligence agency warned in December that Russia was trying to influence the upcoming federal elections with "increasingly aggressive cyber espionage".

Russian cyber hacks timeline

 

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