France's Hollande seeks 'specific measures' against election hacking

French defense chiefs will meet on February 23 to discuss cyber security and implement "specific vigilance and protection measures" during the election campaign after allegations that Russian hackers have attacked presidential candidate Macron who pleaded for stronger European front to face Moscow.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov hit back at the Macron campaign, calling its accusations about the hacking "absurd".

"We will not accept any interference in our electoral process, no more by Russian Federation than by any other state".

That there is a "hysterical" campaign against President Vladimir Putin "in certain countries overseas is an obvious fact", he said.

"As not one foreign government can influence the choice of French people, not one foreign government can choose the future president of the republic", Ayrault said, adding he would be pleased to see candidates who may see themselves as a "preference" of Russian Federation to "revolt against this type of influence".

The source gave no date for this meeting though the satirical weekly le Canard enchaîné said on Tuesday that it had been fixed for late next week.

One such candidate, far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen, rejected Moscow's involvement in the US election, saying there was not "any serious proof".

Macron's strong pro-Europe stance was not to Russia's liking however, he said.

"If these attacks succeeded, the campaign of En Marche! would become extremely hard, if not impossible", Ferrand said in Le Monde online.

In light of allegations that Russian Federation interfered in the United States presidential elections last November, French President Francois Hollande ordered on Wednesday measures to be taken to prevent any such interference in the forthcoming French presidential elections.

The hacking attempts were organised and coordinated by a structured group, "which gives a definite indication of the nature of the attacks", Ferrand argued.

He again pointed the finger at Russian state-controlled media Russia Today and Sputnik, saying they were spreading "the most defamatory" rumours about Mr Macron, including those relating to his private life and the financing of his campaign.

"Today, we have to look at the facts: two major media platforms that belong to the Russian state, Russia Today and Sputnik, broadcast false news daily".

  • Zachary Reyes