Labour has come under a barrage of criticism for “playing politics” with Britain’s national security after allegedly playing up a cyber attack targeting its digital platforms.
The party claimed it had suffered a “large-scale and sophisticated” attack designed to take its computer systems offline. However, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace commented that Jeremy Corbyn was intentionally using the alleged attack to “distract from his dire campaign” citing security sources who subsequently played down the scale of the attack.
Referencing a BBC report based on a Labour source that the Monday attack came from computers in Russia and Brazil, he queried:
"Corbyn is desperate to distract from his dire campaign. Why would Russia attack the Labour Party whose leaders want to break up NATO and never use the nuclear deterrent?”
Tory candidate Jack Lopresti likewise referred to the matter as “Labour playing politics with our national security". “Experts have said there is no evidence of a sophisticated cyber attack conducted by a nation state", he pointed out stressing that “it is absolutely irresponsible to be exaggerating the facts for political gain".
Corbyn told a rally in Blackpool on Tuesday that the attack rendered him “very nervous" portraying a cyber attack coinciding with an election campaign as something to be “very worried about".
Labour later announced it had suffered a second cyber attack that allegedly came in the form of a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) after successfully blocking the first one thanks to “robust security systems". However, shortly after the reports about the first attack emerged, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) dismissed it as “a low-level attack” noting it had no links to a foreign state and was “too minor” to be investigated by the authority.
Philip Ingram, a former colonel in British military intelligence turned cyber expert, also shared that “it does not sound sophisticated".
“DDoS attacks can be bought online for a few pounds so it could have been from anyone – [from a] 13-year-old at home to someone in Labour HQ trying to create a messaging opportunity", he noted firmly.
In a parallel development, Britain’s governing Conservative Party was also hit by a cyber attack on Tuesday, around 4 p.m., trying to force its website down, two people shared with Reuters.
Former MPs’ campaigns are currently in full swing, after Prime Minister Johnson and Labour and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn agreed last week to 12 December general elections, ushering in a fierce competition for a majority in Parliament.
BoJo's three attempts to call a snap vote had earlier been rejected by the Commons, while a new Parliament after the 12 December vote is hoped will ratify Johnson’s current bill to finalise the country's long-sought departure from the EU.