French Minister Le Drian on cyber espionage: France is not immune, ready to hack back

Pierluigi Paganini January 09, 2017

Defense Minister Le Drian comments expressed concerns about cyber attacks against defense systems and warns of hacking campaigns on the upcoming elections.

According to the Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian France defense was targeted by thousands of attacks in 2016. France thwarted more than 24,000 cyber attacks against Defence systems last year.

The Minister confirmed that thousands of attacks from external sources targeted the defense architecture, including France’s drone systems, but all the attacks have been repelled.

The number of cyber attacks in France has increased in a significant way substantially across the last three years. According to Mr Le Drian, hacking attacks represents a serious threat to national infrastructure.

The French Defence Minister revealed that cyber attacks were doubling every year and expressed concerns about possible offensives against this year’s presidential election.

In an interview with Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper, the French Minister said that France “should not be naive”.

French Minister Le Drian on cyber espionage

The Minister warns of possible cyber attacks like the ones that targeted the 2016 US Presidential Election.

In France, the conservative candidate Francois Fillon has been praised by Russian president Vladimir Putin due to its intention to intensify the relationship with the Kremlin. On the other side, the candidate Marine Le Pen is in total opposition to Russia, for this reason, the experts believe that hackers could target him and his party.

Relations between Russia and France are not good due to the position of President Hollande on the dispute between Russia and Ukraine in the 2014 Crimean Crysis.

President Hollande also blamed Russia of war crimes over its bombardment of the Syrian city of Aleppo.

The Minister is overseeing an overhaul of the cyber-security operations conducted by his Government.

“Our services have discussed the subject, if only to learn lessons for the future,” said Le Drian, who also referred to a cyber attack against the 2015 French TV station TV5Monde.

According to many security firms, including FireEye, the Russian APT 28 group was involved in the attack against the French TV station.

According to security experts at FireEye, the Russian ATP28 (also known as Pawn Storm, Tsar Team, Fancy Bear and Sednit) may have used the name of ISIS as a diversionary strategy, the experts noticed a number of similarities in the TTPs used by the Russian group and the one who breached the network at TV5Monde.

I found very interesting the posture of the French Minister, he is aware that foreign hacker could break into national infrastructure, but he also contemplates the possibility to strike back the attackers.He said the French army’s number of “digital soldiers” would be doubled to 2,600 by 2019, with

Le Drian confirmed that the number of “digital soldiers” working for the French defense would be doubled to 2,600 by 2019,  600 cyber experts will joint to the cyber army.

“Le Drian said that in case of a cyber attack, the country could respond in kind as well as with conventional weapons.” reported the Reuters Agency.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian France, hacking)

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