MPs lose email access as Parliament targeted in ‘sustained’ cyberattack

A cyberattack on MPs and Peers’ emails has prompted Parliament’s security team to shut down external access to its systems.

An email sent to parliamentarians on Friday and shown to Sky News said: “Earlier this morning we discovered unusual activity and evidence of an attempted cyberattack on our computer network.”

It claimed that “hackers were carrying out a sustained and determined attack on all parliamentary user accounts in an attempt to identify weak passwords”.

Sky News understands that the attack was targeting the mail server at Parliament, which provides emails for around 9,000 network users.

An update on Saturday from a parliamentary spokesperson said that the team had “discovered unauthorised attempts to access accounts of parliamentary networks users” and was working with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to address it.

While the attack has now been contained, Parliament has not yet announced whether it was successful.

A parliamentary spokesperson has urged that it was “as a precaution” that the digital security team “temporarily restricted” remote access to the network.

As a result, some MPs and staff cannot access their email accounts outside of Westminster.

Sky News has confirmed that all email accounts registered to the domain are currently unable to access the Microsoft Single Sign-On (SSO) service from outside of the Palace of Westminster.

SSO is a service which allow users access to all of the internet services in Parliament with a single sign-on.

While convenient for users, if an SSO account was compromised it would allow the attacker access to everything that the parliamentarian had access to.

Senior MPs have said they still cannot access their emails and have been warned that more services could be made unavailable as Parliament’s digital security team “continue to work through security processes”.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said: “We know there are regular attacks by hackers attempting to get passwords.

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Source: Sky News