EU officials warn against cyber threats to the elections of France and Germany. -Vasilis Chronopoulos         

Cyber-terrorists could be planning to undermine elections in France and Germany, the European Union warned, as tensions grow at the start of what could prove a pivotal year for the bloc.

With nationalist Marine Le Pen in the running to become French president and Chancellor Angela Merkel fighting off anti-establishment forces as she seeks re-election in Germany, the EU said it is vital that governments shore up defenses against online threats from states and rogue cyber-gangs.

Worryingly for an EU with several national elections this year is the new-found capacity for cyber to be used to manipulate democratic processes,” European Security Commissioner Julian King said in a speech at the University of Oxford on Friday. “It is not hard to see how a false e-mail inserted in a hack of thousands laundered through Wikileaks could have a powerful influence on public opinion.”

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