Election propaganda: When cyber attacks enter the debate

The distribution of electoral propaganda within the framework of the 1er round of the regional elections did not go as planned: many citizens complained that they had not received the professions of faith from the various parties before the 1er election round. Adrexo is now in the sights: this subsidiary of the Hopps group was awarded the market for the distribution of electoral propaganda during a call for tenders in January 2021, alongside the group. The post office.

But the dysfunctions have led several political parties and local authorities to express their dissatisfaction. The Interior Ministry summoned the leaders of the two companies responsible for the upcoming distribution to explain themselves on Monday, leaving La Poste and Adrexo to communicate on the dysfunctions encountered.

In a press release, the management of Adrexo evokes the cyberattack that the company experienced at the end of April to justify the dysfunctions encountered: “the operational management of this mission experienced disruptions in May, during a cyberattack of which the company was the victim. “A cyberattack now resolved, but which would have disrupted, according to Adrexo, the organization of distribution:” with the resolution of this incident, Adrexo has organized itself to allow its teams to distribute under the best conditions despite the strong IT and operational constraints ”.

A cyberattack, but it will have to be done with

The press release does not provide further details on the nature or scope of the cyberattack in question, but the company was indeed hit by an attack at the end of April. Several notes and messages circulated internally and relayed by the various unions of the Hopps group gave an overview of the scope of the attack: it would have been identified in the weekend of April 25 and would have caused the paralysis of a party. IT department. On April 30, the group welcomed a resumption of activities in less than 10 days and indicated that “the time to resolve this incident is an achievement”, while recognizing that the full recovery of IT services would take time.

If the group remained discreet in its external communication, the communication towards employees and shareholders had been rather comprehensive, as LeMagIT pointed out. It will not be known exactly what the nature of the attack was, but the press releases issued by the management evoke an attack among “the most virulent at the global level”. Suffice to say that a ransomware could correspond to the description of the symptoms.

The attack seems to have had a lasting effect on the systems of society, and the unions still reported in early June of problems encountered with the payment of wages, apparently linked to the consequences of the attack at the end of April. However, in the many press releases published by the group’s trade unions following criticism of the company, the attack was not one of the factors mentioned. The unions rather emphasize the massive use of temporary workers with little training and the lack of material resources available to employees.

The impact of the cyberattack therefore remains difficult to assess, and the Ministry of the Interior does not seem to be overly moved by it: it thus recalls that the two companies are held to an obligation of result, and to guarantee that the dysfunctions will not recur for the second round of the regional election, scheduled for June 27. Among the measures envisaged to ensure this, the prefects will notably have to second agents to ensure the quality of the enveloping operations, and an operational follow-up of the distribution of electoral propaganda at the departmental level.

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