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Cyberattacks detected targeting MP candidates

The National Cyber Security Centre has updated its advice to candidates in the General Election after a series of attempts to steal politicians’ data.

A number of prospective MPs have been targeted, although Sky News understands they are not senior figures within their parties, or members of the Cabinet or shadow cabinet.

The candidates were targeted on their personal email addresses, not through their official parliamentary accounts. However, the NCSC is sufficiently concerned to reissue its guidance.

“We have made guidance available about how candidates in the General Election can protect their digital systems and online profiles,” the organisation said in a written statement.

“This has been published on our website and parties will be signposted to the guidance by the Electoral Commission.

“The NCSC has been and continues to offer political parties and candidates access to the best cyber security guidance and support.

“It is prudent to offer them advice if they think they have been the victim of a phishing campaign, and NCSC technical experts are available 24/7 to provide assistance and support.”

A phishing attack usually comes via email. These emails are increasingly sophisticated and often made to look as if they have come from legitimate companies such as banks or social media networks.

Recipients are often encouraged to click on a link, perhaps to change a password or renew a membership. If they do so, the attackers can then gain access to data such as passwords.

There is no suggestion at this stage that a state actor is involved. However, the interference of Russian hackers in the US and French elections has put the NCSC and GCHQ on alert.

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