Experts are warning that Russian cyber units are spreading false information about flu and measles jabs in the UK.
In an apparent attempt to erode trust in US and European governments, state-sponsored units are using social media to spread lies, the Mirror reported. The Kremlin is believed to be attempting to foster distrust over flu jabs and the MMR measles vaccines.
The former National Counter Terrorism Security Office head Chris Phillips warned that Russian cyber farms are a threat to daily life. "This is all about destabilisation by external forces. War is ever changing and becoming much more cyber-based," Phillips told The Mirror.
"For generations, governments in the UK and the West have been extremely worried about destabilisation from external forces," he continued.
"The Russians have long felt that the UK, America and the European Union is a major threat to them so have developed major strategies in how to interfere with politics, policy, and now it seems the interference is impacting on vital decisions in our daily lives."
He added: "If the Russian government, or whoever, wishes to exert this kind of influence, is able to cause difficulty in decisions, in trusting the government of the day in that country, or otherwise trusted media and news organisations, then so much the better for them."
According to the Mirror, concerns over the threat to public health and security are so high that government departments have been ordered to monitor social media and flag any troublesome articles.
Health chiefs have reportedly held emergency meetings concerning the spread of "fake news" about vaccination campaigns. There are also concerns that the strides made through information programmes in schools and communities could be undone by these false stories.
Public Health England and the Royal College of GPs have expressed concern over how much false health news is share online and on social media.
Phillips noted that social media has been a "huge issue for Government". He said: "Whether it is misinformation by other government states or individuals, the power has moved from the Government into the hands of individuals who may wish to cause us harm."
Public health officials are investigating whether an outbreak of measles in Liverpool and Leeds last week was prompted by parents not vaccinating their children due to "false information read on the internet," The Mirror reported. There is also a possibility the unvaccinated children picked up the virus while visiting Europe.
"This serves as an important reminder for parents to take up the offer of the MMR vaccination for their children when offered at one year of age and as a pre-school booster at three years and four months of age," said Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at Public Health England said.
"If children and young adults have missed these vaccinations in the past, it's important to take up the vaccine now from GPs, particularly in light of the recent cases in Liverpool and Leeds."