The EU suffered a sharp increase in aggressive cyber attacks in 2016

Russian officials say the state has been targeted in a 'Witch hunt'

The EU suffered a sharp increase in aggressive cyber attacks in 2016

Picture by Dominic Lipinski PA Wire / PA Images

The European Commission has reported that there were a total of 110 separate attempts to hack its servers in 2016 - that's 20% more than the previous year.

"It’s clear that many institutions across Europe and more widely, and that includes the European Commission, are subject to a continuously increasing number of cyberattacks from different sources," Sir Julian King, EU security commissioner, told The Financial Times.

Russia is at the centre of EU and US hacking concerns

"These threats are persistent, they are aggressive, and more and more dangerous and potentially destructive," he continued.

His comments come days after it was revealed that US intelligence agencies believe Russia used cyberattacks to interfere with its presidential election.

France’s defense minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian warned in an interview yesterday that France would be "naive" to think that foreign cyberattackers will not take aim at French servers during the country's coming presidential election.

He said that French security services encountered 24,000 attacks in 2016 - including "even attempts to disturb drones."

Brussels has upped its provisions to guard against cyberattacks. Senior civil servants have been instructed to use email encryption and the Union is co-operating with NATO to guard against more sophisticated attacks.

German chancellor, Angela Merkel has warned that she fears cyberattacks during the upcoming election in the state. The country's security agencies have also expressed their fear that Russia may attempt to influence the race.

Russian officials have rejected the suggestion that it influenced the US election through cyberattacks - the Kremlin says the country has been targeted in a "Witch Hunt" according to Russia Today.