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Last week the Speakers of both houses sent notices to members regarding spear-phishing attempts.
You may have seen in the news today that MP Stewart McDonald has been subject to a cyber attack on his personal emails.
In the media: SNP MP Stewart McDonald’s emails hacked by Russian group – BBC News
The source of the attack is thought to be a Russian based group called SEABORGIUM. We are briefing you to raise your awareness of the tactics used and the measures you should take to protect your personal accounts. It applies to both members and to members’ staff, so I ask that you to share the guidance with your teams. This is a quick briefing for now to update you and further more comprehensive communications issued in due course.
What you need to know:
- Stewart McDonald’s personal email was compromised
- The hackers achieved this by compromising the personal email account of one of his staff, who was locked out
- The group sent Stewart an email from the staff account with a malicious password-protected attachment
- The topic of the email was relevant to the member’s work and looked like a genuine message from his staff
- Be sure that you are communicating with the individual you think you are – if possible, use a separate means of contact to validate this
- Do not click on links or open files unless you are sure of their source
- Secure your personal accounts – use strong, unique passwords and turn on multi-factor/2-factor authentication on your social media accounts and personal email
- Use a different password for your Parliamentary account
- Use Parliamentary devices for Parliamentary business whenever possible
- Do not set up any automatic email-forwarding between your Parliamentary email and personal accounts
- Protect and update your personal devices. Security tips for your mobile phone – intranet PDF
- Book a cyber security briefing with your local engagement team
- Report suspicious messages or activity to the Parliamentary Digital Support Desk by calling x2001
For more insight on phishing visit the cyber security intranet pages. The ‘Think Before You Link’ app, from the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) helps you identify malicious online profiles and reduce the risk of being targeted. For further information, visit Think before you link app – CPNI webpage.