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Mimecast calls on UK Parliament to have a proactive approach to cyber hygiene

April 2024 by Carl Wearn, Head of Threat Intelligence Analysis and Future Ops at Mimecast

Yesterday, Politico raised an issue that poses significant risks to the integrity and security of the UK Parliamentary system, where politicians and elected officials are facing “catphishing” threats.

Given the gravity of these revelations and their potential impact on national security and public trust, we wanted to provide an opportunity to delve deeper into this critical cybersecurity threat by providing insights and advice from Carl Wearn, Head of Threat Intelligence Analysis and Future Ops at Mimecast:

“In today’s digital age, any form of online or text-based interaction comes with risks, this applies to romantic connections as well, even when they’re unsolicited.

“Today, POLITICO brought to light a concerning issue, they reported that politicians, officials, and journalists working in the U.K. parliament are being targeted with explicit messages in a clear attempt to compromise them.

“Catphishing isn’t anything new, it’s an attempt by scammers to use emotional manipulation and flattery to establish a connection, often exchanging fake personal details such as photos and stories that give the victim the sense they are speaking to a real person, which is exactly what has happened here. These sinister tactics are designed by bad actors to prey on trust and exploit human vulnerabilities, potentially leading to devastating consequences such as data breaches, compromised political influence, not forgetting reputational and emotional damage to the victim.

“While it’s encouraging to note that UK parliamentary authorities offer a ‘cyber-advisory service’, it’s evident that a substantial effort in cyber security training is essential to target harden sensitive targets, and vulnerable individuals, to the ever-present danger of cyber-attacks. Upholding public trust demands a proactive approach towards cyber hygiene. Government officials must prioritise good cyber hygiene, which means securing and not over-sharing via social media accounts through two-factor authentication, regular security training and heightened vigilance against social engineering tactics. Any unsolicited communications should be treated with scepticism and heightened suspicion until any sender is verified”.

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