THE PARLIAMENTARY DIGITAL SERVICE is looking into hack attempts made against UK MPs to try and bust into their email and phone contacts, BuzzFeed News reported.
Deputy chief whip Christopher Pincher warned MPs to ignore texts and emails that ask them to "provide overseas contact details" or to "download a secure message app".
"This is a malicious hack that accesses your contacts list and sends texts and emails to all your private contacts," Pincher told MPs in an email obtained by BuzzFeed News.
Apparently, the hacking attempt was raised after one Tory MP was supposedly caught out by a phishing attempt.
As a result, a WhatsApp group called "Hack warning 1" saw a load of MPs added to it by government whip Mike Freer to - surprise, surprise - warn the politicians about the hack attempts they might be facing. Though BuzzFeed News reported some immediately left the group; that could have been out of ignorance, alarm, or simply that a lot of MPs aren't that tech savvy.
Freer seemed to be pretty active at trying to get ahead of the hack attempts by taking to Facebook and warning his friends - yes MPs have them apparently - to ignore any texts from his number asking them to "download a viber so we can have a secure call".
"I've been hacked. Ditto for an email suggesting I need overseas contacts for a government payment! Delete!!" he said on Facebook; please note he'd put an extra space before the exclamation marks but we've fixed that because we wouldn't want an MP to look silly...
Freer than told BuzzFeed News that parliamentary authorities are investigating the situation and declined to say much more. And a parliamentary spokesperson was also rather tight-lipped.
We like a bit of causal speculation here, so we'd say that the lack of comment could be down to some borkage in Parliament cybersecurity or MPs downloading dodgy apps or opening dodgy emails.
We'd not be surprised if an MP with scant tech knowledge got some cyber virus and accidentally spread it around leading to the hacking attempts. After all, there're plenty of politicians who don't really seem to understand how technology or the internet really works. µ
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