Since the U.S. intelligence community concluded that Moscow waged an influence campaign targeting the 2016 U.S. elections, experts have asked: Will it do the same in the French and German elections? Both votes will have an enormous impact on the future of Europe and the liberal order, and much is weighing on whether these democracies are adequately shielded from outside manipulation. In fact, Moscow has already interfered in French elections. In 1974, the KGB launched a covert propaganda campaign to discredit both François Mitterrand and Valéry Giscard d’Estaing. Overtly, Moscow courted Giscard, to an extent that papers such as the right-wing L’Aurore condemned it as an “intolerable” insertion into French domestic politics. Correspondents interpreted the move as “open intervention in national politics.”
Today, Moscow is dusting off the KGB’s favored subversive toolbox — dubbed “active measures” — but with a technological upgrade for the internet era. The U.S. election showed cyberattacks have become the new weapon of choice in political influencing. When it became clear that the digital fingerprints of Fancy Bear — the perpetrator of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) hack that stymied Hillary Clinton’s campaign — were found on a cyberattack that paralyzed the French channel TV5 Monde back in 2015, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian insisted that France take seriously the possibility of similar efforts aimed at the French elections. Anything else would be “naïve,” he said.
The French Network and Information Security Agency (ANSSI), generally responsible for protecting government and key industries from cyberattacks, has since offered a cybersecurity awareness-raising seminar for political parties — all parties accepted, save for the far-right National Front. President François Hollande, as part of a renewed focus on cybersecurity, ordered a “mobilization of all the means necessary” to face down cyberattacks and cautioned Russia against its use of Soviet-inspired influencing measures.
Full Article: How Russia hacked the French election – POLITICO.