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

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Cyber Attacks, VOA

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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Facebook Violated Cyber Security Law: Vietnam

In November, Vietnam said it wanted half of social media users on domestic social networks by 2020 and plans to prevent "toxic information" on Facebook and Google.

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Facebook, data, vietnam
This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

Facebook has violated Vietnam’s new cybersecurity law by allowing users to post anti-government comments on the platform, state media said on Wednesday, days after the controversial legislation took effect in the communist-ruled country.

Despite economic reforms and increasing openness to social change, Vietnam’s Communist Party retains tight media censorship and does not tolerate dissent.

“Facebook had reportedly not responded to a request to remove fan pages provoking activities against the state,” the official Vietnam News Agency said, citing the Ministry of Information and Communication.

In a statement, a Facebook spokeswoman said, “We have a clear process for governments to report illegal content to us, and we review all these requests against our terms of service and local law.”

Facebook, data, photos, vietnam
A smartphone user displays a Facebook newsfeed .VOA

She did not elaborate.

The ministry said Facebook also allowed personal accounts to upload posts containing “slanderous” content, anti-government sentiment and defamation of individuals and organizations, the agency added.

“This content had been found to seriously violate Vietnam’s Law on cybersecurity” and government regulations on the management, provision and use of internet services, it quoted the ministry as saying.

Global technology companies and rights groups have earlier said the cybersecurity law, which took effect on Jan. 1 and includes requirements for technology firms to set up local offices and store data locally, could undermine development and stifle innovation in Vietnam.

Facebook, India, Fake News, Hate Speech, Russia, digital, vietnam
A Facebook panel is seen during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, in Cannes, France. VOA

Company officials have privately expressed concerns that the new law could make it easier for the authorities to seize customer data and expose local employees to arrest.

Facebook had refused to provide information on “fraudulent accounts” to Vietnamese security agencies, the agency said in Wednesday’s report.

The information ministry is also considering taxing Facebook for advertising revenue from the platform.

Also Read: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Gears up For Debates on Public Forums

The report cited a market research company as saying $235 million was spent on advertising on Facebook in Vietnam in 2018, but that Facebook was ignoring its tax obligations there.

In November, Vietnam said it wanted half of social media users on domestic social networks by 2020 and plans to prevent “toxic information” on Facebook and Google. (VOA)