In the wake of WannaCry, a global ransomware, organizations, firms, and even government bodies all across the world started putting in more efforts to tighten cybersecurity. However, about a month past that episode, U.K. parliament has been hit by a “sustained and determined” cyber attack. Not only this, we already have a suspected culprit — Russia, that might be behind the attack that breached some 90 e-mail accounts over the weekend.
The attack had began on Friday, and fearing the possible damage, officials had to lock MPs out of their own email accounts as they struggled to lessen the impact of this incident. MP Theresa May, the prime minister, and her cabinet minister have been relying on this affected network for dealing with constituents.
As per the British security services, this attack is most likely to be a result of effort of another state rather than a small group of individual hackers. A statement given by a security source to The Guardian, says,
It was a brute force attack. It appears to have been state-sponsored. The nature of cyberattacks means it is notoriously difficult to attribute an incident to a specific actor.
There are just a handful of states that might initiate such an attack on the country — Russia, North Korea, China and Iran. When the UK daily got in touch with a few MPs, the names were further narrowed down to just two foreign governments: Russia and North Korea, as both have been accused behind hacking attempts in the UK.
This attack tried to gain access to those accounts which were protected by weak passwords. A parliamentary spokesperson was quoted saying that less than a per cent of 9,000 accounts on the parliamentary network have been affected. He added these emails had weak passwords and did not comply with the guidance issued by the Parliamentary Digital Service. The individuals whose accounts have been hacked have been contacted, and they are in process of determining whether any kind of data has been lost.