Iran is being blamed for a cyber-attack in June on the email accounts of dozens of MPs, according to an unpublished assessment by British intelligence. Disclosure of the report, first revealed by the Times but independently verified by the Guardian, comes at an awkward juncture. Donald Trump made it clear on Friday that he wants to abandon the Iran nuclear deal. But European leaders, including Theresa May, want to retain it.
Initial suspicion for the attack fell on Russia, but this has now been discounted. The evidence amassed is pinpointing Iran, according to the assessment. A spokesperson for the National Cyber Security Centre, the government body responsible for helping to counter attacks, said: “It would be inappropriate to comment further while inquiries are ongoing.”
The cyber-attack on parliament on 23 June hit the accounts of dozens of MPs, including Theresa May, the prime minister. and senior ministers. The network affected is used by every MP for interactions with constituents.
A security source told the Guardian at the time: “It was a brute-force attack. It appears to have been state-sponsored. The nature of cyber-attacks means it is notoriously difficult to attribute an incident to a specific actor.”
MPs contacted by the Guardian said the immediate suspicion had fallen upon foreign governments such as Russia and North Korea, both of which have been accused of orchestrating previous hacking attempts in the UK. The attackers sought to gain access to accounts protected by weak passwords. The parliamentary digital services team said they had made changes to accounts to block out the hackers. A spokesman said those whose emails were compromised had used weak passwords, despite advice to the contrary.
Source: The Guardian