Russia will vie for Le Pen to win French election, says infosec researcher French far-right party National Front leader Marine Le Pen attends a press conference in a restaurant on January 27, 2017 in Denain near Lille, France. Since the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president on Nov. 8, the French race has been closely-watched as another crucial battle between populist and establishment forces (Photo by Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images) A covert cyber conflict could be waged around the French elections to begin in April 2017, a focal point in Russian president Vladimir Putin’s strategic goal to weaken the European Union, says an information security researcher on medium.com. The French election rates as “the most anticipated cyber conflict in 2017” according to credible sources saying that Russian cyber crews – Sofacy, APT28, etc. – are aggressively collecting information for an influence operation and their means to collect intelligence have not been publicly exposed. The goal, according to the article, is for Russian interests to assist either of the right wingers Marine Le Pen or Francois Fillon to win in the multi-candidate election, or at the very least cause chaos. Following the Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, however, tradecraft has improved and the French are more prepared so there will be twists in the narrative construction and hacked data dissemination method of getting the target audience to accept the charges of candidate corruption and illegitimacy as authentic. The French Agence Nationale de la Securite des Systems d’Information plans to counter any leak-supported narrative through public information. WikiLeaks, instrumental in Russian electioneering in the U.S., has been tweeting information, primarily targeting well-polling candidate Emmanuel Macron. In addition, the French media has exposed its own scandal around Fillon, leaving Le Pen and Benoit Hamon as the least compromised. It’s the article’s speculative guess that the Kremlin will back a Le Pen win through a disinformation campaign against Macron. The original blog post can be found on Medium.