The Inquirer-Home

Government stays mum on fake James Bond spy ad

Department for Work & Pensions and Cabinet Office evade questions
Tue Nov 27 2012, 15:29
House of Parliament

THE UK GOVERNMENT has refused to explain how a fake job advert came to be posted on its job listings on the Direct.gov webpage with different departments declining to take responsibility.

On Friday a fake ad from the "Secret Intelligence Service" looking for a "target elimination specialist" appeared on the website, claiming the role would "involve international travel to a number of countries where individuals need to be removed", along with other nods to James Bond.

"The job holder will receive all necessary equipment, including passports, special watches, jet packs, mini-submarines and a Walther PPK. This role is particularly appropriate for those who like their martinis shaken and not stirred," it said.

The page has since been taken down but the government has so far remained coy about the source of the posting.

The Department for Work & Pensions appeared to suggest someone with legitimate access to the website placed the advert, but offered no insight beyond this.

"It is disappointing that somebody would want to post a false advert when people are looking for real jobs," it said.

"It has now been removed."

The INQUIRER repeatedly asked for more information on who would have the ability to post a false advert and how it passed through any vetting processes to go live, but had received no information by the time of publication.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet Office moved to distance itself from the incident, claiming that the Gov.UK website, which it oversees through the Government Digital Service (GDS), was not directly involved.

"Last week a spoof advert was placed on a DWP jobsite," a spokesperson told The INQUIRER.

"While you can access that site via Gov.UK, when you do so you leave the Gov.UK site. It is, therefore, entirely wrong to suggest that Gov.UK has been compromised."

Both statements fail to address the underlying incident regarding who placed the fake advert and how it went live.

This opens up questions about how secure the control systems in place around the government's IT systems are, whether accessed externally by hackers or by in-house pranksters. Such evasiveness by UK government departments does not inspire much confidence. µ

 

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