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Russia detects ‘cyberattacks’ from abroad targeting parliamentary elections

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Russian President Vladimir Putin votes online at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow on September 17, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

Russia says it has recorded cyberattacks targeting the federal platform for remote online voting, warning that efforts to interfere in the elections are still alive.

The parliamentary and local elections, which began on Friday, are to culminate on Sunday.

President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia Party is expected to win.

The elections commission said Saturday that it had recorded “three cyberattacks” on its resources for remote online voting “from foreign countries.”

The attacks “resulted in temporary delays of access to relevant websites,” it said.

“Yesterday, we recorded three targeted attacks from abroad,” said Alexander Sokolchuk, the head of the commission's center for informatization.

According to Sokolchuk, two of the attacks were aimed at the commission's website, while a third was a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.

“The attack was quite powerful,” he said.

“Preparations” for further attacks, the official added, “are underway for tomorrow.”

Sokolchuk did not name the countries involved, but authorities have previously said that Western social media platforms are involved.

The Russian Investigative Committee said it will conduct an investigation into the cyberattacks.

Earlier this month, Moscow accused the US tech companies Google and Apple of interfering in its affairs by not removing information related to imprisoned opposition figure Alexei Navalny. 

The Russian communications watchdog Roskomnadzor said Google and Apple could be held criminally liable if they keep refusing to comply with the Russian law.

Navalny’s group has launched a voting campaign known as "Smart Voting" against the Kremlin-aligned politicians in the current elections.

Roskomnadzor had earlier demanded that the said companies remove Navalny's app from their stores, but they refused.

Nevertheless, Apple, Google and the Telegram messenger app eventually blocked the app on Friday.

President Putin previously said Western powers are exploiting the case of Navalny to “contain” Moscow.

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