Hackers Infect British Parliament Computers with Ransomware

Cyber cooks breached the security of British parliament’s secure network and hacked into many of its computer systems.

The hack allowed the hackers to leak several confidential documents in relation to MP for NewCastle upon Tyne Central, Chi Onwurah and her employees.

This is one of the first successful attacks on the parliament’s secure network and the authorities in the UK now fear for the worse as this is the second high-profile cyber-attack in fewer months’ time.

TalkTalk was hacked earlier this month and led to a massive data breach, having 2 high profile attacks in such short span of time has put question marks on overall cyber security in the UK.

Coming back to this hack, The Times reported that the hackers used cryptolocker virus for leaking the files. They used the virus to lock confidential files from a shared drive that was used in the secured network.

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Once the files were locked, the virus sent a random note to the MP for the ransom. On the note, the hackers also left a phone number.

Though, according to the MP, none of the locked files had sensitive data but she recognized the fact that there was a virus and was spreading fast.

Parliamentary Digital Service (PDS) quickly disconnected all the connections of Ms. Onwurah’s computers to the shared device.

While commenting on the attackers, the MP 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 cyber attackers can do.”

She now plans to investigate the attack in detail and unmask the culprits.

For UK authorities, it is imperative that the hackers are quickly apprehended as the hacked network serves over 8500 people including Lords and MPs.

Interestingly, the authorities, when asked about any previous attacks on the network, declined to comment which could mean that this may not be the first time the network has been under such attacks. Therefore, apprehending the culprits may prove a matter of greater urgency than once may normally think.

 

The British cyberinfrastructure seems more vulnerable than expected. Last month, a hacker breached into the official website of Norwich International Airport and accessed passenger information, emergency response and media center. The hacker then informed the airport authorities who didn’t show much interest in fixing the simple SQL vulnerability.

Such breaches have dented the confidence of businesses regarding the robustness of UK’s cyber security.

Ryan De Souza

Ryan is a London-based member of the HackRead’s Editorial team. A graduate of Maths and physics with a passion for geopolitics and human rights. Ryan places integrity at the pinnacle of successful journalism and believes this is somewhat lacking in traditional media. Ryan is an educator who balances his time between family, social activism and humanitarian causes and his vice is Football and cars.