03:06 GMT +309 December 2019
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    French Defense Minister Calls for Boosting Cybersecurity Due to Risk of Attacks

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    France should boost its cybersecurity as it could be hurt by cyber attacks like the United States, in particular, there is a real risk of cyber attacks on civil infrastructure such as electricity, transport, water or telecommunications, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Sunday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — He stressed there was a big risk of cyber attacks on French civil infrastructure, as well as on democratic principles and media, referring to a cyber attack on TV5Monde station in 2015.

    "We should not be naive [thinking France could not face a cyber attack]… The number of cyber attacks against my ministry doubles every year. In 2016, about 24,000 external attacks had been blocked by our security services," Le Drian said in an interview with French weekly Journal du Dimanche, adding that all those attacks failed.

    The minister said that France should be able to protect itself from cyber attacks and be ready to strike itself if necessary.

    Le Drian highlighted that the number of cybersecurity specialists would be doubled by 2019, reaching 2,600.

    As regards Russia's alleged involvement in the US presidential election, the French minister said that "if it had really been manipulated, it would be an unbearable interference" because targeting the electoral process means "attacking country's democratic foundations and sovereignty."

    On Friday, the US Intelligence Community released a report saying it has "high confidence" on Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The report, based on information from multiple sources, is an unclassified version of the comprehensive intelligence report assessing Russian activities and intentions in the 2016 US presidential elections.

    The report alleges that Russia employed a state run propaganda machine including domestic media, RT and the Sputnik news agency, to serve "as a platform for Kremlin messaging to Russian and international audiences." According to an annex to the report, RT America TV is Kremlin’s tool in undermining faith in the US government. The report does not provide any evidence that the alleged propaganda campaign had an effect on US voters or specific election results.

    Russia has repeatedly denied the US allegations calling them absurd and characterizing them as an attempt to divert public opinion from revelations of corruption as well as other pressing domestic issues.


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