Widely believed to have meddled in the US Presidential election, it now seems likely that Russian actors interfered with the Brexit vote and this year’s snap General Election in June as well.
According to the head of National Cyber Security Centre (the subdivision of GCHQ launched in October 2016 to fight cybercrime), the Russians attempted to disrupt the recent poll by hacking into leading British media, telecoms and energy companies to cause disruption on the day of the election.
State-backed Russian actors (not the movies kind) seem intent on waging a cyber war to undermine and subvert western democracies. Research from universities in Wales and California suggest that more than 150,000 Russia-based social media accounts attempted to sway public opinion ahead of the Brexit vote by disseminating fake news and disinformation.
Since its inception a year ago the NCSC has successfully countered numerous cyberattacks, as well as helping to ameliorate the effects of incursions, such as WannaCry, that eluded its defences.