CYBERTHIEVES hacked into the parliament’s secure computer network and used sensitive files to hold an MP to ransom, it has been revealed.
Cybercrooks hacked into parliament’s secure network and compromise several computers,The Times has claimed.
The hackers unearthed confidential documents relating to MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Central, Chi Onwurah – the shadow digital minister – and her employees.
The hack is the first report of a successful cyberattack against the secure parliament network, which is used internally used government employees.
It comes amid fears hackers are winning the cyberarms race against public bodies and companies, like Talk Talk – which was successfully hacked earlier this month with devastating consequences.
According to The Times report, the attackers used a cryptolocker virus to lock confidential files from a shared drive on the parliament network.
Once locked, the virus displayed a random note to the MP with a telephone number and instructs to pay a ransom to unlock the sensitive files.
The MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Central admitted the virus spread fast – but was stopped before it managed to attack any files containing sensitive data about constituents.
The Parliamentary Digital Service (PDS) seized all of the Ms Onwurah’s computers and cut off her connection to shared drive.
Her hard drives were then wiped and replaced, The Times confirmed.
“It’s important that everyone realises how susceptible we all are to theses attacks,” Ms Onwurah said.
“There are reports that foreign intelligence agencies have targeted MPs’ computers, so the time has come to find out how well we are being protected, especially now we know what cyberattackers can do.”
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MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Central, Chi Onwurah was held to ransom by the hackers
She now plans to investigate the extent of cyberattacks on MPs and the protective measures put in place by the PDS.
Parliament’s computer network serves some 8,500 people, including MPs, lords and staff in the constituency and Westminster offices.
The PDS declined to say how many times the network had been breached in the past two years.