Investigation Underway After MPs Targeted by ‘Malicious Hack’

Mike Freer

Parliamentary authorities have launched an investigation after the UK Treasury Commissioner’s personal phone was compromised by hackers. 

On Monday 4th of February, Treasury Commissioner Mike Freer’s phone was accessed by hackers who hijacked his device to spread a message to MPs which asked them to download a messaging app and to provide their overseas contact details.

As a result of the smishing attack, numerous Tory MPs, including several cabinet members, were forced to be added to a Whatsapp group called ‘Hack warning 1‘ by Freer’s mobile phone number.

A warning was swiftly put out by deputy chief whip, Chris Pincher, notifying colleagues the message was fraudulent and to ignore the contents. In an email to Tory MPs, Pincher said: “Please be wary of texts and/or emails purporting to come from colleagues asking you to provide overseas contact details and/or asking you to download a secure message app.

“This is a malicious hack that accesses your contacts list and sends texts and emails to all your private contacts. PDS has been informed. You should not download this app.”

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According to Pincher, the Parliamentary Digital Services, which advises MPs on cybersecurity, had been informed of the attack and were already investigating the incident.

Freer took to social media to announce he had been hacked and urged his friends to ignore any email or text message asking them to download an app or give contacts. One person who received an email from the MP said it requested information on contacts in China.

At this time it remains unclear as to who is responsible for the attack. Previously, Iran had been blamed for perpetrating a “sustained and determined” cyber attack, which affected the email accounts of 90 MPs and their parliamentary staff.

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