The Houses of Parliament, London, Britain. (Photo by Reuters)
Parliament says up to 90 email accounts have been compromised during Friday’s cyberattack.
A parliamentary spokesman said on Sunday that the lawmakers were temporarily locked out of their own email accounts amid fears that the breach could lead to blackmail.
He added that both houses of Parliament were targeted. Following the hacking, the lawmakers were unable to access their Parliament emails.
The spokesman added, “As they are identified, the individuals whose accounts have been compromised have been contacted and investigations to determine whether any data has been lost are under way.”
According to The Telegraph, the lawmakers were alerted to the hack on Friday. An email was sent to everyone using a parliamentary address and warned about an “unusual activity and evidence of an attempted cyberattack.”
“We have seen reports in the last few days of even cabinet ministers’ passwords being for sale online,” International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said.
He added, “We know that our public services are attacked so it is not at all surprising that there should be an attempt to hack into parliamentary emails.”
“And it’s a warning to everybody, whether they are in Parliament or elsewhere, that they need to do everything possible to maintain their own cyber security,” he emphasized.
The incident comes just over a month the Britain’s National Cyber Security Center came under fire after a global cyberattack infiltrated thousands of antiquated computers and left dozens of hospitals in chaos across the country.
Meanwhile, officials say that although an investigation is underway to find those behind the attack, the Russian government is the prime suspect.
In May, British intelligence services warned the country’s political parties to beef up their cyber security and protect themselves from hacking attacks by foreign countries such as Russia.
“We have no evidence that the Russians are actually involved in trying to undermine our democratic processes at the moment,” British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said then.
“But what we do have is plenty of evidence that the Russians are capable of doing that. And there is no doubt that they’ve been up to all sorts of dirty tricks,” he added.
This is the third time Moscow is accused of carrying cyberattacks in other countries.
Russia has previously faced allegations of interfering in the US presidential elections and hacking France’s computer systems during presidential campaigns. Moscow has repeatedly denied all such allegations.