Nato must begin to compete on the cyber-battlefield to counter Russian hacking aimed at undermining democracy in the US and western Europe, the British defence secretary, Sir Michael Fallon, has said. In his most hard-hitting comments yet about Russia, he accused it of targeting the US, France, Germany, Holland, Bulgaria and Montenegro, which is due to become a full Nato member this year. Fallon blamed Russia for helping create the age of fake information. "Today we see a country that, in weaponising misinformation, has created what we might now see as the post-truth age. Part of that is the use of cyber-weaponry to disrupt critical infrastructure and disable democratic machinery," he said.
A skills shortage and "chaotic" handling of personal data breaches are undermining confidence in the government's ability to protect the UK from cyber attacks, MPs have warned. The Commons Public Accounts Committee said ministers had taken too long to consolidate the "alphabet soup" of agencies tasked with stopping attacks. Cyber attacks are ranked among the top four risks to UK national security. The government said it had acted with "pace and ambition" on the issue. In November, Chancellor Philip Hammond said that hostile "foreign actors" were developing techniques that threatened the country's electrical grid and airports.
The U.K.'s defense secretary is accusing Russia of using cyber attacks to "disable" democratic processes across the West, and he's demanding that NATO fight back. "NATO must defend itself as effectively in the cyber sphere as it does in the air, on land, and at sea," Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said. "So adversaries know there is a price to pay if they use cyber weapons." Fallon made the comments in a Thursday speech about the threat of "Russia's military resurgence." He pointed to the Kremlin's suspected role in influencing last year's presidential election in the U.S., as part of growing number of alleged cyber attacks that have targeted Western governments.
Russia is trying to destabilise German society with propaganda and cyber attacks ahead of the country's general election, according to Germany's domestic intelligence agency. Thursday's warning was the bluntest public claim yet from Germany's BfV agency about Moscow's alleged campaign of disinformation and hacking targeting Europe's biggest economy. "There is growing evidence of attempts to influence the federal election next year," said Hans-Georg Maassen, head of the BfV, citing "increasingly aggressive cyber espionage" against political entities in Germany. He expressed particular concern that voters' increasing use of social media could make them more vulnerable to disinformation. BfV said it had seen a wide variety of Russian propaganda tools and "enormous use of financial resources" to carry out "disinformation" campaigns aimed at the Russian-speaking community in Germany, political movements, parties and other decision makers.