Russia is suspected to be behind the hack of the UK Electoral Commission which potentially exposed 40 million voters’ information to the risk of theft and misuse. The commission has admitted it was the victim of a complex cyber attack by “hostile actors” in August 2021 – and that the attack was not detected for 14 months, until October 2022. Former intelligence chiefs have said Russia would be at the top of their list of suspects. The information accessed included the electoral register of names and addresses – most of which is already available publicly – but also the commission’s control and email systems. The commission says the breach “does not pose a high risk to individuals” but admits the hacked data could be used along with other publicly available information to “identify and profile individuals”. The UK’s current electoral system is protected to the extent that it relies on unhackable pen and paper. See also: a “monumental” data breach after an error responding to a Freedom of Information request meant the surname, initial, rank and location of all current Police Service of Northern Ireland officers and civilian staff members were shared online. The Information Commissioner’s Office is investigating both cases.
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