Russia hacking ‘aims to disrupt democracy’, says UK Minister

Vladimir Putin’s Russia is using cyberattacks to undermine democracy in the United States and Europe, Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has claimed in a hard-hitting speech. He said the Kremlin was guilty of “weaponising misinformation” in a sustained campaign of destabilisation against the West, and he warned that NATO must do more to counter the threat. Accusing the Russian government of “routinely lying”, the Defence Secretary claimed there was a “persistent pattern of behaviour”.

Russia is clearly testing NATO and the West. It is seeking to expand its sphere of influence, destabilise countries and weaken the alliance.

Sir Michael Fallon

Examples he gave included: The taking off air of France’s TV5Monde television station in April 2015; the targeting of Germany’s lower house of parliament by hackers later the same year, which shut down its network; a cyberattack on Bulgaria in October 2016 described by the country’s president as “the most heavy and intense” to be conducted in southeastern Europe; and the hacking of the Democratic and Republican parties during the US presidential election campaign last year.