Cyber-attack on parliament leaves MPs unable to access emails

The UK’s House of Commons spokesperson said on 24th June 2017 it is investigating after unauthorised attempts were made to access user accounts

Parliament has been hit by a “sustained and determined” cyber-attack by hackers attempting to gain access to MPs’ and their staffers’ email accounts. Both houses of parliament were targeted on Friday in an attack that sought to gain access to accounts protected by weak passwords. MPs said they were unable to access their emails after the attack began.

The estate’s digital services team said they had made changes to accounts to block out the hackers, and that the changes could mean staff were unable to access their emails.

An email sent to all those affected, seen by the Guardian, said: “Earlier this morning, we discovered unusual activity and evidence of an attempted cyber-attack on our computer network. Closer investigation by our team confirmed that hackers were carrying out a sustained and determined attack on all parliamentary user accounts in an attempt to identify

“These attempts specifically were trying to gain access to our emails. We have been working closely with the National Cyber Security Centre to identify the method of the attack and have made changes to prevent the attackers gaining access, however our investigation continues.”

The changes are believed to have stopped MPs and their offices from accessing emails on mobile phones and tablets outside Westminster. “Access to systems from the Westminster estate has not been affected,” the email said, before adding that further disruption was likely.

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