Russia claims foreign hackers are trying to interfere with its election

Vladamir Putin Getty Images
  • Election officials in Moscow said they were hit by a DDoS attack on Sunday.
  • It came as polls were opening in the 2018 presidential election, which there is no real doubt that Vladimir Putin will win.
  • It is more common to see Russia itself accused of election meddling, as it has been in the US and 19 European nations.

Russia, a country which has been accused numerous times of attempting to interfere with elections overseas, has claimed that its own presidential contest is under attack from foreign hackers.

Officials in Moscow said that the Russian Central Election Commission’s website was hit by a coordinated attack by IP addresses from 15 different countries on election day.

It said that a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, which bombards a website with data requests in an attempt to overwhelm it, hit between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. on polling day.

Russians are casting votes today for one of eight presidential candidates, including incumbent Vladimir Putin, who is all but guaranteed to win by a landslide.

Putin faces no meaningful opposition in Russia – not least because his chief critic Alexei Navalny has been banned from running. The main source of interest in the results is almost certain to be the scale of victory for Putin, rather than whether he will win.

The alleged DDoS attack was announced by election chief Ella Pamfilova, whose comments were reported by the Sputnik news website and the Tass news agency, both of which are controlled by the Russian government.

It follows repeated accusations that the Russian state has tried to upend the democratic process in at least 20 countries around the world, using both cyber attacks and information warfare.

A report published by US members of congress in January details alleged Kremlin efforts to destabilise 19 European countries, from its immediate Baltic and Scandinavian neighbours to more distant democracies like the UK, France and Italy.

Russia has also been accused of meddling in the 2016 US election. Earlier this week the US Treasury announced a wave of sanctions penalising Russian entities suspected of being involved.