In a speech in Scotland on Thursday, Hunt will say that hostile states risk undermining Western democracies, turning elections into “tainted exercises”, although he will stress that there is no evidence of successful interference in UK elections.
Britain has on several occasions accused Russia of trying to interfere in its elections, with the most recent one coming before the parliamentary votes in 2017 when it was claimed that Russia-sponsored hackers had tried to infiltrate into computer systems of the House of Commons, the lower house of the British parliament.
Russia has consistently denied the allegations, which intensified after similar claims in the United States about Russia’s online sabotage activities in the run-up to the 2016 US Presidential elections.
Hunt will claim in his speech in Glasgow that Britain has already found the capability to launch massive counter-attacks against saboteurs in the cyber space, adding that London would also consider diplomatic measures against any move to influence its future elections.
“For every example of publicly attributed interference, there have been others that never saw the light of day… the implications are profoundly disturbing,” he will say.
Britain and Russia are in the midst of a serious diplomatic standoff over a poisoning attack last year which targeted a former Russian spy in southern England. Moscow has denied any involvement in the attack which sparked an unprecedented wave of diplomatic expulsions between Moscow and the West.
Russian authorities believe their country is being deliberately targeted in countries like the UK as part of efforts to stop a normalization of ties between Moscow and West several years after relations became strained over a conflict in Ukraine.