Sustained Cyberattack Shuts Down British Parliament’s Email Service

Governments are still very prone to cyberattacks these days. It is only a matter of time until the next attack happens, by the look of things. The British Parliament suffered from a major attack last week, which has proven to be quite troublesome. As a result of this event, a low of lawmakers couldn’t even access their email accounts remotely. Luckily, the issue was resolved rather quickly, yet it shows there is still a lot of work to be done.

British Parliament Suffers From a Big Attack

It is never good to hear government organizations are attacked by online criminals. Unfortunately, these types of attacks are far more common than most people realize. In the case of the British Parliament, trouble started brewing early last week. It appeared there was a high degree of unusual network activity, although it took some time to figure out what was causing the anomaly.

More specifically, it became virtually impossible to keep services online. Both internal and external access to mail servers was shut down for a period of time until the matter could be resolved. For lawmakers relying on this external mail access, things went from bad to worse rather quickly. It is evident this attack was not a small one by any means, otherwise, such drastic measures would have never been taken in the first place.

In a message sent out to all Members of Parliament, the institution explained how this attack was deemed “severe and determined.” It is unclear what the criminals were trying to achieve by attacking the British Parliament, though. It appears the main objective was to disrupt services, rather than steal information of any kind. The investigation is still ongoing as we speak, though, and we won’t know for sure until the official findings are publicized.

However, it does appear this could have been a brute force attack against the British Parliament members’ email accounts. More specifically, it is believed the assailants were looking to breach email accounts with a weaker password. In doing so, they could have obtained sensitive information, or even used the accounts to conduct a major scam operation. The ulterior motives remain unclear, and we don’t know if any email accounts have been affected by this sustained attack.

It is not the first time members of parliament have come under attack, mind you. A report surfaced last week indicating how information on thousands of government officials was bought and sold on Russian underground forums. That is not a positive development by any means, as it highlights criminals have a relatively easy time obtaining this sensitive information whenever they want. It is unclear if British MPs have their information exposed on these Russian forums, though.

In the end, all of this goes to show there is still a lot of work to be done to keep people safe from cybercrime. New countermeasures need to be developed sooner rather than later. Governments need to allocate large budgets to improve overall cybersecurity, that much is evident. Rest assured this is not the last cyberattack against government officials for 2017, as that type of sensitive information is quite valuable to the right group of criminals.

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