UK parliament suffering from sustained cyber-attacks
Britain's Parliament has been forced to shut down their email servers to outside access as a result of being hit by a series of sustained cyber-attacks, according to a report by the Guardian. The attackers sought to access the email accounts of the Members of Parliament (MPs) as well as their staffers.
Unusual activity was detected early in the morning and an email was sent out to notify MPs via Parliament's digital services team. The team noted the attacks were focused on identifying weak passwords in order to access emails, and the accounts had to be restricted accordingly. The attacks are by an yet-unknown party, with conservative MP Henry Smith quipping on Twitter: "Sorry, no parliamentary email access today — we're under cyber-attack from Kim Jong-un, Putin or a kid in his mom's basement or something". The MPs humor highlighted both the ease of conducting a cyber-attack and the difficulty of ever identifying a culprit: "smart" devices in the home are frequently infected with malware that turns them into unwitting accomplices in distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. These botnets are available to be rented for attacks for relatively small sums of money per hour, meaning that it could indeed be a kid in his mom's basement.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn made a statement pleading for investment in cyber-security: "You wouldn't leave your building without importing documents under lock and key. A computer is just the same". At the very least, this attack is a reminder to use more complex passwords.