Emmanuel Macron will be French president despite leaks on the eve of the election

Just like Hillary Clinton half a year before him, French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron was the victim of a major leak as voters prepared to choose their next leader. Some say the US leak was intended to cost Hillary the election, and worked.

But the French candidate prevailed.

Of course, any leak, no matter how major, is unlikely to be the deciding factor in an election. Many, many factors go into deciding a result.

It should also be noted that unlike in the US, where the leaks regarding Hillary were splashed across not only national media but international media, French media was legally obliged not to discuss the leaks.

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Nevertheless, whoever was responsible for sourcing and making the leaks prominent seemingly failed in their apparent attempt to put negative thoughts in the heads of the French voting public.

Mundane campaign documents

Who was behind the Macron leaks, and their exact motivation, is still unclear. Some blame “alt-right” activists, others blame the Russians.

It has been noted that there was very little, if anything, that was scandalous within the leaks. Most of the content was along the lines of mundane campaign documents.

Perhaps the point was just to add fuel to fires started with rumors that Mr. Macron was involved in offshore banking in an attempt to avoid tax (rumors he has taken legal action against).

Macron won a decisive victory, in the end
Source: Sky News

Fool me once…

Whatever the motivation and whoever the players, the trick didn’t work. And when you think about it, why would it?

Most people with even the vaguest analytical capabilities must already have taken a “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” view of the ruse. Unless there was clear evidence that a candidate had done something awful, surely most people’s reaction in future will be “oh, not this again”.

Macron is unlikely to be the last victim

Not that the culprits will necessarily stop trying this method.

Itay Glick, the CEO of cybersecurity company Votiro, believes that:

“It seems that Russia has a clear intention to control who is being elected… they tried to expose Clinton as much as possible, and appear to have again used their cyber influence and offensive capabilities to try and control the outcome of the French election.

“Other than Russia you will likely find other nations resorting to similar tactics as well, but Russia has been more aggressively trying to influence these outcomes over the past few decades beginning in the early 1980s.”

Mr. Glick told TechDigg that: “My assumption is that these types of hacks will continue to happen more and more. As the organization of the attacks becomes more efficient, we may hear about them less, but this will only be due to their better performance, as most of the undercover work will remain unknown.”

People, organizations and countries will always try to influence elections, and cyberspace will continue to be a major playing field. Whether intelligent people will allow their democracy to be influenced by a cheap “you don’t wanna vote for this person” trick again, however, is not so certain.

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