Labour Party struck by second cyber attack in 24 hours

12 November 2019, 15:38 | Updated: 12 November 2019, 16:31

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Labour have been targeted in a second cyber attack within the space of 24 hours as hackers try to force the party offline.

The attack saw hackers trying to take the party's web services offline at around 1.20pm on Tuesday, Labour sources confirmed.

It took place just hours after the party revealed the details of a first attack that occurred yesterday afternoon.

Both attacks were "very unsophisticated" distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, a source said.

Such attacks try to take down target websites by flooding them with malicious traffic.

A Labour Party spokesman made no immediate comment.

The cyber attack is the second in 24 hours
The cyber attack is the second in 24 hours. Picture: PA

Earlier today, a spokeswoman said the first attack on the party’s digital platforms had "failed" because of "robust security systems" and they were confident no data breach occurred.

They reported the matter to the National Cyber Security Centre and while some campaigning activities were temporarily slowed, the systems were back up to speed by Tuesday morning.

The spokeswoman said: "We have experienced a sophisticated and large scale cyber attack on Labour digital platforms.

"We took swift action and these attempts failed due to our robust security systems. The integrity of all our platforms was maintained and we are confident that no data breach occurred.

"Our security procedures have slowed down some of our campaign activities, but these were restored this morning and we are back up to full speed.

"We have reported the matter to the National Cyber Security Centre."

Labour sources later confirmed it was a so-called distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack - one of the most common forms of attack - although they would not comment on who they thought might be responsible.

In a DDoS, hackers flood a target's online platforms with traffic from various sources, with the aim of slowing down access or causing websites to crash.

Brian Lord, Managing Director of cyber security company PGI & former Deputy Director of GCHQ, told LBC's James O'Brien: “The phrase cyber attack is generally a phrase designed specifically to create that frisson of fear that you and a lot of people hear.

“I don’t think it’s a very helpful description at all because as you say, they can go from low-level vandalism all the way up to activities which can cover almost a state of war and everything that sits in between.

“I think in that sense it’s not helpful and I think it’s important for everybody to understand what different types mean.”

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