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Cyber Attacks by Russians may target UK Elections, Warn Spies at Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)

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London, March 12, 2017: Spies at the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) have called an emergency summit with Britains political parties after warning them that the next general election is vulnerable to cyber attacks by the Russians.

Ciaran Martin, chief executive of GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), has written to leaders of all the main political parties offering expert help to strengthen network security, reported the Sunday Times.

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In his letter, Martin said: “You will be aware of the coverage of evnts in the United States, Germany and elsewhere reminding us of the potential for hostile action against the UK political system.”

He called a “technical seminar” on cyber-security for politicians.

“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,” Martin said.

Experts at GCHQ have made protecting the political system from foreign hackers as “priority work”.

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They fear that Kremlin-backed hackers could steal and leak internal emails or publish private databases of voters’ political views in an attempt to damage the standing of political parties with the public, according to the report.

A senior government source said GCHQ would help with the security of “personal datasets, including the electoral roll and voter identification data”.

Security officials stepped in after Russia was accused of helping Donald Trump win the US presidential ­election by hacking and publishing 20,000 emails from the rival Democratic Party.

Russia was also accused of infiltrating the German Parliament’s computer network in 2015. (IANS)

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Major Global Tech Firms Sign Cyber Security Tech Accord

34 global tech firms sign key accord against cyber attacks

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Global firms
Global Tech Firms. Pixabay

Top 34 global technology and securities firms, led by Microsoft and Facebook, have signed a “Cyber security Tech Accord” to defend people from malicious attacks by cyber criminals and nation-states.

The watershed agreement will prevent them help governments launch cyber attacks against innocent citizens and enterprises. It will also protect against tampering or exploitation of their products and services through every stage of technology development, design and distribution.

The agreement for Cyber security
Cyber security. Pixabay

“The devastating attacks from the past year demonstrate that cyber security is not just about what any single company can do but also about what we can all do together,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a statement on Tuesday.

The “Cybersecurity Tech Accord” is a public commitment among 34 global companies to protect and empower civilians online and to improve the security, stability and resilience of cyberspace.

“This tech sector accord will help us take a principled path towards more effective steps to work together and defend customers around the world,” added Smith who has been arguing for a “digital Geneva Convention” for years.

Also Read: McAfee unveils refreshed cyber security solutions portfolio

The companies made commitments in four areas — stronger defence, no offence, capacity building and collective action.

“The companies will do more to empower developers and the people and businesses that use their technology, helping them improve their capacity for protecting themselves,” said cybertechaccord.org.

This may include joint work on new security practices and new features the companies can deploy in their individual products and services.

The Tech Accord remains open to consideration of new private sector signatories, large or small and regardless of sector, who are trusted, have high cyber security standards and will adhere unreservedly to the Accord’s principles.

“The real world consequences of cyber threats have been repeatedly proven. As an industry, we must band together to fight cyber criminals and stop future attacks from causing even more damage,” said Kevin Simzer, Chief Operating Officer, Trend Micro.

Warning for Cyber attack.
Cyber Attacks. Pixabay

The victims of cyber attacks are businesses and organisations of all sizes, with economic losses expected to reach $8 trillion by 2022.

The cyber attacks in the past have caused small businesses to shutter their doors, hospitals to delay surgeries and governments to halt services, among other disruptions and safety risks.

“The Tech Accord will help to protect the integrity of the one trillion connected devices we expect to see deployed within the next 20 years,” said Carolyn Herzog, General Counsel, Arm.

Also Read: Parental Control Apps May Not Help in Shielding Teenagers From Cyber Threats

On Monday, Cyber security representatives from the US and Britain warned of Russian state-sponsored cyber-attacks that are targeting network infrastructure devices such as routers and firewalls, to compromise government and private sectors globally.

According to a US Computer Emergency Response Team (US-CERT), the Technical Alert provided information on the worldwide cyber exploitation by Russian state-sponsored cyber actors.  IANS