France said the number of cyber attacks against the defence ministry have doubled each year. 24,000 attacks had been thwarted in 2016.
Security services have warded off attacks aimed at “tarnishing the image of the ministry as well as strategic attacks – harassment, surveillance, espionage – and even attempts to disrupt our drone systems,” Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said. “Thankfully, our defences were sufficient and none of these attacks were successful.”
“France reserves the right to respond by all means it deems appropriate,” he said. “That could be through the cyber arsenal at our disposal but also by conventional means. Everything would depend on the effects of the attack.”
“If there was an attempt to influence or manipulate the US presidential election, it would be a very serious incident. If it were led by a state government, it would be an intolerable interference. Targeting a country’s electoral process is an attack on its democratic foundations and its sovereignty, he added. Of course our services have discussed the issue, if only to learn lessons for the future,” said Le Drian
France plans to deploy 2,600 “digital soldiers” by 2019.