The hack of a U.K. trade minister’s email account – the result of a spear phishing campaign likely engineered by Russian operatives –  led to the leak of U.S.-U.K. trade documents and perpetuated a disinformation campaign credited with influencing the 2019 U.K. election.

Hackers were able to successfully access the email of Trade Minister Liam Fox in an attack that bore characteristics of a nation-state operation. The tactics closely resembled the spear phishing campaign during the 2016 U.S. presidential election that lured Hillary Clinton Campaign Manager John Podesta and resulted in a steady leak of damaging emails on WikiLeaks.

The U.K. incident is believed to have kept the Conservatives in power, while the Labour party and its leader Jeremy Corbyn were pilloried for trying to use the NHS sale claim for political gain. Investigators are probing the online theft and dissemination of six groups of classified U.S.-U.K. trade documents, a Reuters report cited two officials as saying.

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