Foreign states attack on the UK Referendum website likely, Parliamentary Committee says

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Foreign states could meddle into the referendum on the UK withdrawal from European Union, the British Parliamentary Committee concluded in a new report “Lesson Learned from EU Referendum”.

“It is of the highest importance that the referendum process is seen to be fair, by both sides, and that the result is agreed to, even if not with, by both sides’, Bernard Jenkin, Chairman of the Committee said.

The UK Parliamentary Committee’s report that was published today informs that the government detectives, who investigated reasons of a crash of the Referendum official website realized that there were outside factors involved.

The report emphasised also the difference in understanding of a cyber attack by the Western countries such as Britain or the United States that perceive it only in technical terms and its rivals like Russia or China, which are utilizing it as its instrument of foreign policy.

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“The US and UK understanding of ‘cyber’ is predominantly technical and computer-network based, while Russia and China use a cognitive approach based on understanding of mass psychology and of how to exploit individuals”, the report said.

The authors of the Parliamentary Committee report said that the cause of a crash of the official website for the UK Referendum registration process was a DDoS (distributed denial of service attack) attack using botnets. Such an attack indicates an attempt of foreign states in the course of referendum process.The Parliamentary Committee did not provide details regarding the attacks but it observed that Russia and China have capabilities to conduct such a cyber-attack.

On May 7h, 2017 the government owned website halted registration for about 100 minutes. At first it was announced that the website failed due to the massive traffic. The registration was resumed but there was a conviction that due to the malfunction some tens of thousands British citizens could not exercise their democratic right to vote.

Parliamentary Committee in its report denied that the failure influenced the result of the UK referendum.”We do not believe that any such interference had any material effect on the outcome of the EU referendum,” – the Committee said.

In the referendum on the withdrawal of Britain from the European Union which took place in June 23rd, 2016, 52 percent of voters said yes.

(pht)

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