EXPERTS have warned that the cyber-attack on the Labour Party is the “tip of the iceberg” and could be the precursor to bigger, more sophisticated attacks during the General Election campaign.

Last night, Labour revealed hackers had tried a second time to breach its security using a so-called distributed denial-of-service[DDoS] attack, which attempts to bring down targeted websites by flooding them with malicious traffic.

On the campaign trail, Jeremy Corbyn described the first cyber-attack as "sophisticated and large-scale" and told supporters: “If this is a sign of things to come in this election, I feel very nervous about it all because a cyber-attack against a political party in an election is suspicious, something one is very worried about.”

HeraldScotland: Camley's Cartoon: Cyber attacks hit UK election.Camley's Cartoon: Cyber attacks hit UK election.

Emily Orton, a founding member of Darktrace, an AI company for cyber-security, said of the attack on Labour: "Really, this is the tip of the iceberg in terms of the types of threats that, not just the Labour Party, but all political parties are going to be, without a doubt, experiencing on a daily basis."

She added: "When we look at things like misinformation campaigns, when we look at attacks now that are changing data, actually undermining the integrity of data systems, there is far more unfortunately advanced things that they are going to have to face in the future…

"Anyone involved in politics and in Government need to be preparing themselves for a lot more stealthy, sophisticated attacks than this."

Duncan Hodges, a senior lecturer in Cyberspace Operations at Cranfield University in Bedfordshire, noted: “I wouldn’t call this attack sophisticated but it is certainly co-ordinated and large scale in that it involved multiple attacks. We shouldn’t be confident that this is over; we have seen this type of attack used as cover for further activities.”

He added: “Small attacks, equivalent to physically knocking over a political party’s sign, are one thing but larger co-ordinated attacks could have more detrimental consequences. Any attack on our democratic process or that affects the ability to conduct a fair election, and hence respect the outcome of that democratic process, we should take very seriously.”

A spokesman for the National Cyber Security Centre said: "The NCSC has worked closely with political parties for several years on how to protect and defend against cyber-attacks. We met the major parties last week ahead of the General Election.

"In terms of this incident, the Labour Party followed the correct, agreed procedures and notified us swiftly. The NCSC is confident the party took the necessary steps to deal with the attack. It was not successful and the incident is now closed," he added.

In May 2017, the WannaCry malware attack hit banks, businesses and hospitals, which led to 7,000 NHS appointments being cancelled.

The cyber-attacks on Labour come amid the ongoing controversy about the UK Government suspending publication of a report by Westminster’s Intelligence and Security Committee[ISC] into alleged Russian interference into Britain’s democratic processes.

The fears over election cyber-attacks came as -

*Boris Johnson will today in his first keynote speech of the campaign insist a majority Conservative government would end the “groundhoggery of Brexit” and deliver on the people’s priorities: investing in the NHS; cutting crime and helping with the cost of living.

And he will warn on a campaign visit to the Midlands that the alternative would be voters waking up on Friday the 13th to a “Corbyn-Sturgeon horror show of two chaotic referendums in 2020”.

*Jeremy Corbyn, as he embarked on a two-day visit to Scotland, promised that a UK Labour Government would “provide the massive investment Scotland deserves”.

The Labour leader said: “The SNP and the Tories have neither the ideas nor the will to transform Scotland for the better, so are hiding from their records in government. This is a once-in-a-generation chance to transform Scotland and the whole UK. When Labour wins, Scotland wins."

*Labour published its NHS "rescue plan" to boost funding by £26 billion, which under the Treasury formula would mean a knock-on £2bn-plus windfall for the Scottish Government.

The Opposition insisted its plan would provide safe, quality care, recruit thousands of staff, rebuild crumbling facilities and provide modern state-of-art equipment.

*New polling from YouGov, which takes into account the impact of the Brexit Party not standing in Tory-held seats, gives the Conservatives a 14-point lead over Labour.

The backdrop to the Labour cyber-attacks is the continuing controversy over the UK Government’s decision not to publish the ISC’s report; the result of an 18-month inquiry into illicit Russian activities in Britain.

Former Attorney General Dominic Grieve, who chairs the ISC, has stressed the report’s publication is essential ahead of polling day because it contains information "germane" to voters.

However, UK ministers have made clear Whitehall’s “standard process” of checks, which takes several weeks, is being followed and that, because of General Election civil service purdah, the report cannot be published until after polling day on December 12. The report was supposedly sent to the PM for his sign-off on October 17.

But the suspension of publication has led to some politicians suspecting the delay is politically motivated; at the weekend it was claimed the report contained details about Russian donors to the Conservatives.

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said it was “unfathomable” why the Government was not publishing the report before voters went to the polls.

She told the BBC: "I find it inexplicable your Government will not release a Government report about Russian influence; inexplicable and shameful. You're having an election. People deserve to know what is in that report. We had a somewhat similar problem in 2016."

An official report into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election found that illegal interference from Moscow occurred in a "sweeping and systemic fashion".

Stewart McDonald, the SNP’s defence spokesman, said Mrs Clinton’s intervention meant that Mr Johnson could no longer ignore the “mounting international concern”.

He added: “The longer Boris Johnson suppresses the security report on Russian interference, the more questions are raised about what the Tories are hiding.”