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France says it thwarted attack on websites from Russian state-linked actors

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By John Irish

PARIS (Reuters) -France’s foreign minister said on Tuesday that France had prevented a hybrid digital attack on her ministry’s website likely carried out by Russian state-linked actors, along with attacks on other government websites and French media sites.

Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna also said France believed there was a broader campaign of spreading disinformation in France by Russian protagonists.

“This campaign is notably based upon creating fake internet pages to hack into the identity of national media and government websites, as well as by creating fake accounts on social media networks,” Colonna said in a statement.

Moscow has consistently denied that it carries out hacking operations.

Colonna said Russian embassies and Russian cultural institutes were also involved in this campaign, and reaffirmed France’s support for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia.

Many countries around the world that have expressed their support for Ukraine have disclosed similar hits on websites.

Earlier this week, Swiss authorities said several government websites had been targeted in a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack that was claimed by pro-Russian hackers.

In May, U.S. authorities said that the FBI had sabotaged a suite of malicious software used by elite Russian spies.

(Reporting by John Irish;Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Alex Richardson)

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