Up to 90 email accounts compromised during cyber attack on Parliament

Xavier Trudeau
Juin 26, 2017

The parliamentary spokesman said the authorities had found that less than 1 per cent of parliament's 9,000 email addresses had been compromised. Even worldwide trade minister Liam Fox expressed that the attack was to be expected, considering all the news reports and previous attacks the country experienced.

A spokesperson for the House of Commons released a statement confirming "unauthorised attempts to access parliamentary user accounts".

"An internal investigation into this attack, with the support of the National Cyber Security Centre, is now underway".

The security team at Whitehall is speculating that up to 90 accounts out of the 9,000 users may have been compromised in the attack, according to Sky News.

He said state agencies and political groups have been slow to adopt fixes that would protect them, such as strong email encryption, receiving only plaintext emails or funneling attachments through secure areas.

The breach comes two days after the Times of London reported that passwords for British lawmakers, along with 8,000 other United Kingdom government and police officials, were being offered for sale on Russian hacking sites.

Parliamentary officials said the attack was aimed at all parliamentary email accounts and hackers sought to identify weak passwords.

In 2015, the government's National Security Strategy said that the threat from cyber-attacks from both organized crime and foreign intelligence agencies was one of the "most significant risks to United Kingdom interests".

A global ransomware attack last month hit hundreds of thousands of computers, including hospitals in Britain that were forced to shut down, divert emergency cases and postpone operations.

"And it's a warning to everybody, whether they are in Parliament or elsewhere, that they need to do everything possible to maintain their own cyber security".

"These attempts specifically were trying to gain access to our emails". "Access to systems from the Westminster estate has not been affected", the email said, before adding that further disruption was likely. Liberal Democrat Peer Lord Rennard revealed the attack on social media asking people to send any "urgent messages" to him by text.

The United Kingdom has had its fair share of cyber-attacks.

"All users of the parliamentary computer network were alerted via email at 1.40pm on Friday, once it had become clear an attack was under way during the course of the morning and initial action had been taken to protect the network", he said.

The National Cyber Security Centre, which is part of intelligence agency GCHQ, started its operations in October previous year.

The National Crime Agency said it was working with the NCSC on the issue.

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