Details are emerging of an extraordinary cyber attack on the UK parliament.
Members of the House of Commons and House of Lords were giving out alternative contact details today as the security services try to secure Westminster staff emails that they had been unable to access on Friday night.
News emerged that MPs had reported the email concerns on Friday evening and were then told about the hack. The BBC reported that the inability to access emails was not due to the cyber attack but a result of measures to secure Westminster emails.
An email sent MPs said: “Earlier this morning we discovered unusual activity and evidence of an attempted cyberattack on our computer network.
“Closer investigation by our team confirmed that hackers were carrying out a sustained and determined attack on all parliamentary user accounts in an attempt to identify weak passwords.
“These attempts specifically were trying to gain access to users’ emails.”
But some MPs and staff we spoke to on Saturday were unaware of the security breach.
A Commons spokeswoman said “The Houses of Parliament have discovered unauthorised attempts to access parliamentary user accounts.
“We are continuing to investigate this incident and take further measures to secure the computer network… Parliament has disabled remote access to protect the network.”
The cyber attack was revealed on Twitter by Liberal Democrat peer Lord Rennard.
— Chris Rennard #FBPE 🔶 (@LordRennard) June 24, 2017
Last month 48 NHS trusts and other UK institutions were affected by a huge global ransomware attack.
The government’s National Security Strategy has in the past warned that cyber-attacks from organised crime and foreign intelligence agencies are one of the “most significant risks to UK interests”.
Britain’s political class will be worrying this weekend if they are facing an even bigger data security breach than that which the Democrats faced in the US, devastating Hilary Clinton’s election campaign last year, with private conversations leaked to Wikileaks in a co-ordinated campaign that went on for months.