Hackers hit political parties with cyberattacks in Britain

Hackers hit Labour Party and Conservative Party, Britain’s two main political parties, with cyberattacks on Tuesday, Reuters reported.
Cybersecurity for CSOsHackers made attempts to force political websites offline with a flood of malicious traffic weeks ahead of a national election. Britain goes to the polls on Dec. 12 in an election called by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The attacks come after Britain’s security agencies have warned that Russia and other countries may attempt to disrupt the Dec. 12 vote with cyberattacks or divisive political messages on social media.

The opposition Labour Party said on Tuesday morning it had experienced a sophisticated and large-scale cyberattack on Labour digital platforms, but that the attack was repelled and no data was compromised.

The party’s website and other online services came under a second digital bombardment, followed by a third attack on the website of the governing Conservative Party shortly before 1600 GMT.

The sources said there was currently nothing to link the attacks on either party to a foreign state.

The attack on the Conservatives was larger and appeared to be conducted by different hackers, but did not take down any party websites.

Labour spokesman said: “We have ongoing security processes in place to protect our platforms, so users may be experiencing some differences. We are dealing with this quickly and efficiently.”

A Conservative Party spokeswoman had no immediate comment and said she was unaware of the attack.

The country’s National Cyber Security Centre, part of the GCHQ signals intelligence agency, said the first attack on Labour was a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack – a technique used by hackers to take down websites by overwhelming them with traffic.

The sources said the same technique had been used in the subsequent attacks against Labour and the Conservatives.

“DDoS attacks are a common form of attack used by a very wide range of attackers. Mitigation techniques are available and worked in this case,” a NCSC spokesman said.

The nature of such attacks often makes it difficult to attribute responsibility to any particular group, he said.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the first attack on his party was successfully repelled by the party’s defense systems when the digital assault began on Monday.

“If this is a sign of things to come in this election, I feel very nervous about it all,” he said. “Because a cyberattack against a political party in an election is suspicious and something one is very worried about.”

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