British Parliament's Email Network Hit by 'Sustained'
June 26, 2017
Britain's Parliament was investigating a "sustained and
determined" cyberattack on its email user accounts Saturday.
Parliamentary officials said the attack seemed designed to
identify weak email passwords.
As a precaution, remote email access for MPs was disabled, said
a statement released by the House of Commons.
"Earlier this morning we discovered unusual activity and
evidence of an attempted cyberattack on our computer network,"
an email sent by parliamentary officials to those affected said.
"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
It was not immediately clear how many people were affected or
what the extent of the damage was. The National Cyber Security
Center and the National Crime Agency were investigating.
Liam Fox, Britain's international trade secretary, told ITV News
the attack was "a warning to everyone. We need more security and
better passwords. You wouldn't leave your door open at night.''
Passwords for sale?
The incident followed reports in the past few days in British
media that hackers were selling MPs' passwords online.
"We've seen reports in the last few days of even Cabinet
ministers' passwords being for sale online," Fox said. "We know
that our public services are attacked, so it's not at all
surprising that there should be an attempt to hack into
over a month ago, a massive global cyberattack disrupted
Britain's health care services and targeted vital computer
systems in as many as 100 other countries.
It appeared to be the biggest cyberextortion attack in history
and exploited a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows that was
identified in leaked documents by the U.S. National Security
Agency earlier this year.
The hackers attempted to trick victims into opening malicious
attachments to spam emails by saying they contained invoices,
job offers, security warnings and other seemingly legitimate
The extortionists then demanded payments of $300 to $600 to
restore access once computers were crippled by the scam.
Cybersecurity firms said criminal organizations were probably
behind the attack.
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