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Security services investigate cyberattack against UK Parliament after emails hacked

Security Services Investigate Cyberattack Against UK Parliament After Emails Hacked

Staff at the UK Houses of Parliament have had emails compromised in a cyberattack.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Security services are investigating whether hackers stole data from UK politicians after a cyberattack breached a number of online accounts belonging to Parliament personnel. The attack, which took place on Friday, compromised up to 90 accounts and saw MPs, Lords and their staff cut off from remote access to emails and some other Office 365 services, in order to protect users. As of Monday morning, the parliamentary system was not fully up and running, leaving MPs working outside of Westminster without the ability to respond to constituent queries.

“Parliament’s first priority has been to protect the parliamentary network and systems from the sustained and determined cyberattack to ensure that the business of the Houses can continue,” a spokesperson told ZDNet.

Under one percent of the 9,000 accounts on the parliamentary network have been compromised by attackers and those that have been hacked were “compromised as a result of the use of weak passwords that did not conform to guidance issued by the Parliamentary Digital Service”.

“Investigations to determine whether any data has been lost are under way,” the spokesperson said, adding that affected users are being required to change their passwords and are being “proactively reminded” of best cybersecurity practice advice. Parliament is working with the National Cyber Security Centre[1] – the cybersecurity arm of GCHQ – and the National Crime Agency to investigate the attack.

“The NCSC is aware of an incident and is working around the clock with the UK Parliamentary digital security team to understand what has happened and advise on the necessary mitigating actions,” the NCSC said in a statement. Parliament “like all responsible organisations, takes cybersecurity extremely seriously”, a spokesperson told ZDNet, adding: “We have made a series of technology changes to increase user account security and will continue to assess and improve our risk mitigation measures”.

Parliament didn’t respond to a query as to whether two-factor authentication[2] was enforced as standard by the Parliamentary Digital Service. However, if those affected by the cyberattack had been using two-factor authentication, it could’ve prevented outsiders from hacking their accounts. All eyes have turned to determining who carried out the cyberattack, although the NCSC told ZDNet that the investigation is still in its early stages and more evidence is needed before making a “sensible assessment” about the nature of the attack and the culprit. The cyberattack against Parliament comes just over a month after large swathes of the National Health Service were hit by the WannaCry ransomware epidemic[3]. However, WannaCry wasn’t a targeted attack against the NHS specifically, but rather its worm-like nature[4] saw it spread to any system around the world it could compromise.

References

  1. ^ National Cyber Security Centre (www.zdnet.com)
  2. ^ two-factor authentication (www.zdnet.com)
  3. ^ large swathes of the National Health Service were hit by the WannaCry ransomware epidemic (www.zdnet.com)
  4. ^ its worm-like nature (www.zdnet.com)

How to Avoid Long Lines at Airport Security This Summer

6/20/176/20/17

How To Avoid Long Lines At Airport Security This Summer

Every Summer, travelers receive the same warning about TSA: checkpoints are understaffed and lines are going to be extremely long. Waiting in line to get through security and hoping you will make your flight can be agonizing and extremely stressful, especially if you are running late.

Airlines will not accommodate you if you miss your flight because of long security lines, so they are telling customers to get to the airport extra early. But as a savvy traveler, there are a few other things you can do to mitigate your stress and emerge from the herd.

  1. First off, think about those pesky lines when even when you are booking your flight. Try to find a flight that is between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Airports are much emptier during these times as most people are trying to get out early or leave late. But for vacationers with no time constraints, this is optimal for a smooth journey through the airport.
  2. For a small fee of $85, you can ensure that you are almost always at the front of the line with TSA precheck. It’s an easy program to enroll in and takes five minutes to apply online. Then, all you have to do is schedule an in-person appointment that includes a background check and fingerprinting. But once you go through these easy steps, it is smooth sailing through airport security. With TSA precheck, you don’t need to take your laptop out of your bag or remove your shoes, coats, or belts, so that’s another added bonus.
  3. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of signing up for TSA precheck, Clear[1] is the latest program to help get you through security faster. It’s only at certain airports and there is a yearly fee of $195, but you don’t have to wait in any line at all. Clear members have their own special line and use fingerprints and iris scans to confirm your identity. You then get to go straight through to security. You just need to enroll and visit a Clear airport to get that set up. Clear is currently available at 13 airports, including Los Angeles (LAX), Austin (AUS), and San Francisco (SFO).
  4. If you have elite status on airlines, take advantage of it! Most airlines allow midtier and high-tier elite status holders to join priority security lines, even if you’re not flying first class. Make sure you put your frequent flyer number in when you check into your flight or flash your frequent flyer card when going through security.
  5. Another way you can help yourself once you get through the line is to make sure you have access to everything you need to remove and are dressed as conveniently as possible. Have easy access to your laptop and iPad, which you already know you have to take out of your bag. Also, make sure everything is out of your pockets while you are standing in line and wear easy-to-remove shoes.

References

  1. ^ Clear (www.clearme.com)

Security guard assaulted as two women caught shoplifting in Blacktown

Two women charged for attempted shoplifting at Blacktown store.

Security Guard Assaulted As Two Women Caught Shoplifting In Blacktown

Two women will front Blacktown Local Court next month following an attempted robbery. One security guard copped a literal spray from an alleged shoplifter who tried to steal clothes from a Blacktown store on the weekend. It s alleged a Willmot woman, 48, spat in the guard s face and yanked on his tie after being confronted while trying to leave the Patrick Street store on Sunday.

She and a Glendenning woman, 40, have been charged by police for offences including stolen goods in custody and assault. The two women were spotted putting clothes into their trolley about 3.45pm on June 18 and attempting to leave the store without paying. When the guard came to question the pair, the Willmot women allegedly ditched her mobility walker to shove him in the chest.

She spat at him and pulled his tie from his neck before trying to flee the scene, police said. Reinforcement security guards arrived to stop the pair from leaving before police came to arrest the women. Both were charged for stolen goods in custody.

The Willmot women was also charged with assault, while the Glendenning woman was charged with drug possession.

They will appear before Blacktown Local Court on July 13.

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