Following US Election Hacks, UK to “Treat a Cyber Attack as Seriously as a Conventional Attack”

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Jan 9, 2017
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Following the release of a report by US intelligence community that detailed how Russia is linked to the US election hacks, the United Kingdom wants to make sure it can’t be hit with a similar attack. On Monday, Britain’s Joint Committee on National Security Strategy announced that it’s reviewing the country’s cybersecurity practices to make sure it remains safe from the attacks that affected the 2016 US presidential election.

National Security Strategy launches inquiry into cybersecurity practices

Earlier in November, the United Kingdom launched its five-year National Cyber Security Strategy with a £1.9 billion ($2.3 billion) budget to prevent future attacks. The country aims to become a global leader in cyber defense.

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“The internet has changed our daily lives almost beyond recognition from the way we communicate, to the way we trade and the way Government provides services to citizens,” Chair of the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy, Margaret Beckett MP said in a statement today. “The national security implications of the leap to cyber are a matter of increasing concern.”

“Attention has recently focused on the potential exploitation of the cyber domain by other states and associated actors for political purposes, but this is just one source of threat that the Government must address through its recently launched five-year strategy.”

Today’s announcement comes only two days after the US intelligence agencies released a declassified report detailing how Russia used propaganda arms, hacks, and “trolls” to influence the 2016 US Presidential election. The report also accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of ordering this campaign to hurt Hillary Clinton’s chances of victory and to help Trump be the next President of the US.

The report tracked election hacks to a hacker named Guccifer 2.0 who was further linked to Russia’s intelligence agency, GRU. While some are criticizing the government for not sharing more concrete evidence, President-elect Donald Trump after his briefing on Friday agreed with the intelligence agencies’ decision to classify evidence and sources.

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“The methods, tools and tactics we use to keep America safe should not be a public discussion that will benefit those who seek to do us harm,” he had said in a statement.

The government of the UK appears to be taking this report and DNC hacks more seriously. Unlike the US, which is still arguing on what constitutes an act of war when it comes to cyber attacks, the UK government said, “it will treat a cyber attack on the UK as seriously as a conventional attack.”

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