US election hack could inspire political interference in Britain, according to cyber security head

Written by Emilio Casalicchio on 16 December 2016 in News

Chief executive of the National Cyber Security Centre Ciaran Martin said the incident may have created "a perception that this is a successful model"

Global cyber threat - Image credit: Pixabay

A suspected Russian hack to influence the US presidential election could inspire a similar attack in the UK, a senior UK cyber security figure has said.

Ciaran Martin, chief executive of the National Cyber Security Centre, said the highly controversial incident may have created "a perception that this is a successful model".

And he revealed that British intelligence experts at GCHQ took measures to protect the 2015 UK election against hacking.


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The CIA has said Russia sought to meddle with the US election result in a bid to get Donald Trump elected, while President Barack Obama has vowed to take action against Moscow.

Hackers leaked thousands of emails from the Democratic National Convention and Hilary Clinton's campaign manager in a bid to damage her bid for the White House.

Martin refused to say whether he had seen evidence of Russian involvement in the hacks, but he stressed the risk of cyber-attacks to influence elections.

"States undertake cyber-attacks for all sorts of different reasons,” he told BBC's Newsnight.

“They undertake it sometimes for commercial and economic advantage. They undertake it for commercial espionage. They undertake it for political espionage.

“And it may be the case that states are undertaking cyber-attacks in order to achieve outcomes in influencing and propaganda."

He added: "There may be a perception now that this is a successful model for intervention in a society such as ours and those of our allies. And clearly that's something we need to be prepared to deal with."

He also “fully endorsed” claims by German intelligence that hacking attempts had been made to influence elections in the country next year.

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