Latvia's Security Police warn of cyber attack risks before elections

Latvia's interior police force, the Security Police, warn there are risks of cyber attacks prior to the parliamentary elections in the fall. Ints Ulmanis, deputy head of the Security Police, told LTV's De Facto March 19 that IT systems have to be well-prepared before the election, and that there may be website hacks and leaks of sensitive information as Latvia gears up for the October 6 election.

Ulmanis said that, in particular, there's great risk of foreign security forces accessing sensitive data . 

"It's a big threat, as data may be used in many different ways. It may not happen tomorrow, but the appropriate time will come when security services that have stolen the data may use it," said Ulmanis. 

The Security Police say that while it has its sights on suspicious social media accounts with content targeted against Latvia, as of now it has no signal over possible involvement in Latvia's elections.

Meanwhile the Foreign Ministry says that diplomats are working so that, if it comes to this, Latvia would be ready to operate against people breaking law on social media.

Experts contacted by De Facto say that, even following the Russian election, there will be ongoing attempts to influence interior politics of other countries, and that Russia's aggressive rhetoric against Western countries will not die down.

"Most of the domestic authority of the Russian government comes from the idea of a strong Russia not submitting to the West. This worldview leaves no choice – if there's need to influence or consolidate Russian society, the number of conflicts with the surrounding world may only grow, not diminish," said politics expert Konstantin von Eggert, a politics expert and an analyst at the TV Dozhd channel.

"As to what can we expect in the future, I can only reply quoting the Bible: stay awake! If the world champion in terms of political surprises is currently Trump, Putin is the vice-champion who is yet to fight with Trump for first place," he said. 

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