12 months ago
A cyberattack may have influenced votes in the Brexit referendum last June, at a time when the rest of the world was stunned by the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the EU.
A new report from British parliament published Wednesday suggests that a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack may have been responsible for the voter registration website crashing just hours before the deadline closed, preventing many voters from registering.
The surge of voter registrations ahead of the deadline could’ve been due to a false rumor circulated on social media that people had to re-register to have their ballots count. During the extended deadline following the website’s crash, nearly half of voters registered were duplicates, according to TechCrunch.
In a review of the EU referendum, the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) determined the site’s crash was “the most significant example of software failure.” The committee said it “had indications of being a DDOS” attack based on “key indicators” such as “timing and relative volume rate.”
Although it says it can’t provide specific evidence of direct foreign influence, the report included concerns of Russian and Chinese efforts to undermine democracy elsewhere via psychological tactics on the Internet.