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UK lawmakers examine Brexit cyber-attack claim

Report refuses to rule out foreign cyber-attack on website which crashed while registering voters for Brexit referendum

12.04.2017
UK lawmakers examine Brexit cyber-attack claim FILE PHOTO

By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal

LONDON

A foreign cyber-attack could have been behind the crash of a U.K. website to register voters for the country’s 2016 Brexit referendum, a parliamentary committee suggested on Wednesday.

“The Register to Vote website crashed on the evening of June 7, 2016,” but the government said it was due to “an exceptional surge in demand”, a report from the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee stated.

However, the lawmakers did not rule out a foreign cyber-attack as a factor.

“We do not rule out the possibility that there was foreign interference in the EU referendum caused by a DDOS (distributed denial of service attack) using botnets, though we do not believe that any such interference had any material effect on the outcome of the EU referendum,” it said.

Evaluating other countries’ approach to cyber processes, the report said the U.K. must take cyber security seriously.

“The U.S. and U.K. 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,” it added.

The committee also advised preventive measures for such future attacks.

British voters chose to leave the EU in last year’s referendum and Prime Minister Theresa May started official exit negotiations with the bloc last month.

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