France will be voting for its next president on 23 April, and it has already started taking precautions to prevent any sort of interference from outside sources. The European nation is beefing up its cyber-security footprint amidst fears that Russian hackers might try to influence the upcoming elections. Jean-Yves Le Drian, defence minister of France said that French intelligence agencies were trying to learn its lessons from the allegations that rocked the US elections.
Le Drian said that the number of hacking attacks that were aimed at hacking the defence ministry computer systems have doubled every year. In fact, 24,000 such external attacks were blocked in 2016.
The US Presidential elections were alleged to be orchestrated by Moscow, and email leaks were there for all to see. Although the President-elect Donald Trump has dismissed reports accusing Russia of cyber attacks, France does not want to take any chances on that front.
The French are particularly cautious because it emerged that in 2015, a television channel TV5 Monde was taken off air. French investigators had suggested that Russia was behind the cyber attack. This attack, which was initially linked to Islamic State, was later learned to have been carried out by Russian hackers. According to BBC, the hackers used highly targeted malicious software to take down the TV station’s systems.
According to Le Drian, the French army will have around 2600 cyber security experts, whom it’s calling ‘cyber warriors’, by 2019. They will be supported by an additional 600 computer experts.
Guillaume Poupard, head of the National Information System Security Agency, said that the problem needs to be acknowledged. “The attackers who influenced the American election could try to do it again in France. We must be prepared,” said Poupard.
It must be noted that Russia and France are not exactly on the friendliest of terms, specially after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 as well as its role in Syria conflict. French President Francois Hollande has also cancelled the sale of warships to Russia.
According to Telegraph, two candidates in France, the centre-right Francois Fillon and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen want to build closer ties with Russia.
Publish date: January 9, 2017 1:41 pm| Modified date: January 9, 2017 1:41 pm