Jeremy Hunt has said authoritarian regimes view democratic elections as “key vulnerabilities” to be targeted. While he stressed that there was no evidence of successful interference in UK polls he also called for economic and diplomatic sanctions to be part of the response to attacks.
He added that the government was expanding its network of “cyber attaches” – diplomats working with governments around the world to address the problem.
Experts Comments below:
Steve Armstrong, Regional Director UK, Ireland & South Africa at Bitglass:
“Whilst most people associate “cyber” with the menacing hooded adversaries hacking systems this is slightly more subtle. There has been a propagation of mass social engineering across both mainstream and social media platforms. This works on mass psychology; humans as individuals are, in general, thoughtful and rationale – however by instigating social engineering campaigns protagonists are able to generate a herd mentality. It is the responsibility of both mainstream and social media outlets to ensure this pretexting does not lead to fundamental mind shift changes.”
Stephen Gailey, Solutions Architect at Exabeam:
“There is little doubt that authoritarian regimes see the spread of social media in the more liberal world as an opportunity to level the playing field. The ability to influence public opinion and even elections is just too tempting and with limited opportunity for reciprocating action they feel this is a no loose scenario for them. For decades the West used traditional media like the BBC world service to try to destabilise what it considered to be unreasonable regimes. The tables have now been turned on us and we are helpless to do anything about it.”