The US, UK and several other Nato members have come together to counter cyberattacks and fake news to stop the spread of misinformation and extremist propaganda.
Nine nations -- Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden, the UK and the US --have signed a memorandum to establish a special centre in Helsinki to conduct research on how to tackle such cyber threats. Close to a dozen experts will form the core team and other Nato and EU nations are expected to join soon.
The latest effort to counter the so called "hybrid threats", comes months after Russia was accused of influencing the recent US presidential election by hacking into the Democratic Party servers. Although Russia categorically denied any involvement in the attacks, several European nations have expressed concerns over possible cyber manipulation of their elections.
Coupled with cyberattacks is the ongoing issue of fake news which peaked during the US presidential election. Finland, the hub of the cyber centre, which shares a sizeable border with Russia, has also accused the Putin-led government of a propaganda blitz through fake news.
European officials have warned that Moscow may have plans to meddle in the upcoming elections in France and Germany. Fresh claims have also emerged of a possible Brexit vote hack as a Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee report says there may have been a DDos attack on the main EU referendum website in the run-up to voting day.