Election must be free from cyber-attacks to ensure fairness, May says

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Strong cyber-security is essential in keeping the upcoming general election a fair race according to Prime Minister Theresa May.

Political parties will be given top-level advice on how to guard against cyber-attacks, she said.

May said the National Cyber Security Centre was helping ensure the general election remained free from outside interference.

She added: “I think it is not a question of looking to see what you would do after something has happened, it is actually about ensuring that we are taking steps so that people cannot interfere in our electoral process.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May

“Relatively recently the Government opened the new National Cyber Security Centre, which is a very important step forward.

“That centre has already been working with the political parties, offering them advice as to how they can protect themselves against the possibility of cyber intrusion.

“As far as I am concerned, we will do everything we can to ensure that the elections here in this United Kingdom are free and fair.

“I think we should all be very clear that free and fair elections are such an important part of our democracy. We want to see those free and fair elections continue in the future.”

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has previously accused Russia of using “cyber weaponry” to “disable democratic machinery”. 

Concerns over the impact of cyber security on election results around the world were heightened last year after it emerged that Russian interference in Hillary Clinton’s bid for the US presidency  may have been a key factor in Donald Trump’s win.

President at the time Barack Obama later promised to take action against Russia for its actions and spoke directly to Vladimir Putin about his feelings on the issue. 

In March France dropped plans to let its citizens abroad vote electronically in elections due to concerns about the risk of cyber attacks. 

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