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Shropshire Star comment: Cyber attack strikes at democratic integrity of nation

By Shropshire Star | Opinions | Published:

It is not surprising that news of a cyber attack on one of Britain’s main political parties should come during an election.

There are many external forces that might want to compromise data or disable systems. The timing of the attack on Labour shows whoever forms the next Government that more must be done.

We should all be concerned about cyber security for it affects us all. Our nation runs on computer systems and big data – from our schools to our hospitals, our places of work to our boardrooms, from our sporting teams to our cultural facilities. All information is stored on hard drives, and criminals know the value in accessing those.

Banks, mobile phone companies and utilities constantly update their own systems, but even they have come under attack.

It is worrying that any political party should have its cyber security compromised, especially if it holds party members’ financial details.

But it comes with a more sinister undertone.

There is no suggestion this attack on Labour was politically motivated, but the issue of foreign states’ attempts to influence elections refuses to disappear.

The finger has been pointed at Russia for staging sophisticated and not-so-sophisticated attempts to interfere in domestic issues, particularly given the Government has yet to release a report about the Kremlin’s past involvement in our politics.

The world has changed and while once property was kept under lock and key, now it is stored behind firewalls and in high-tech virtual vaults.

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Criminals have shown remarkable adaptability as they have kept pace with change, penetrating systems that their designers imagined would be impenetrable.

The attack on a political party represents a threat not only to the financial wellbeing but also the democratic integrity of our nation.

This is an issue that is at the core of our democracy and it is right that we are told of any ways in which previous elections have potentially been compromised.

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