Secret documents relating to trade between the United States and the United Kingdom, which leaked in the run-up to the 2019 British elections, were stolen by Russian hackers from an e-mail of the former UK Trade Minister Liam Fox.

This was reported by Reuters, citing its own sources.

In particular, it is reported that hackers gained access to the account several times between 12 July and 21 October 2019.

Security services are currently investigating, but it is not yet known which Russian group or organisation is believed to be responsible for the illegal actions. Investigators also believe that the hacker attack showed signs of a state-backed operation.

As it turned up, there were six tranches of documents detailing British trade talks with the United States among the stolen information.

Informed sources reported that the email account was hacked by a so-called “fitting” message, through which hackers received a password and login information.

British Foreign Secretary Dominique Raab confirmed the interference last month saying “Russian actors” sought to interfere in the election “through the online distribution of illegally obtained government documents.”

It has not yet been reported which Fox accounts were hacked and when it first occurred.

A spokeswoman for the British government said, “A criminal investigation is underway into how the documents were obtained, and it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

She added that the government has “very reliable systems to protect the IT-systems of officials and staff.”

It should be recalled that last week the British Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence and Security released a report stating that the government had not tried to investigate possible Russian interference in the Brexit referendum. The same document states that Britain “greatly underestimated” the Russian threat.

Bohdan Marusyak

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