London (Reuters) – Hackers hit Britain’s two main political parties with back-to-back cyberattacks on Tuesday, sources told Reuters, attempting to force political websites offline with a flood of malicious traffic just weeks ahead of a national election.
The attacks come after Britain’s security agencies have warned that Russia and other countries may attempt to disrupt the Dec. 12 vote with cyberattacks or divisive political messages on social media, a charge Moscow denies.
The opposition Labour Party said on Tuesday morning it had “experienced a sophisticated and large-scale cyberattack on Labour digital platforms,” but that the attack was repelled and no data was compromised.
Just hours later, the party’s website and other online services came under a second digital bombardment, followed by a third attack on the website of the governing Conservative Party shortly before 1600 GMT, according to two people with knowledge of the matter and documents seen by Reuters.
The sources said there was currently nothing to link the attacks on either party to a foreign state.
One of sources said the attack on the Conservatives was larger and appeared to be conducted by different hackers, but did not take down any party websites.
Asked about the second attack, a Labour spokesman said: “We have ongoing security processes in place to protect our platforms, so users may be experiencing some differences. We are dealing with this quickly and efficiently.”
A Conservative Party spokeswoman had no immediate comment and said she was unaware of the attack.