Scottish parliamentarians offered cyber training

After a string of recent high profile attacks on Westminster MPs, sessions are being organised to help Scottish counterparts better understand their security responsibilities and how to avoid major threats

Members of Scottish Parliament are to undergo cybersecurity training following a string of online attacks and honey traps targeting politicians.

The announcement comes after recent reports that a cohort of Westminster MPs had been targeted by China in several cyberattacks.

The first briefing will take place on 22 May and will discuss personal security as well as the use of personal and parliamentary devices.

Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton, who secured the briefing for MSPs, said: “Recently we have seen the attempted hacking of MPs’ emails, a hack on the Electoral Commission and a honeytrap scandal in Westminster. Some of these incidents may originate with hostile foreign nations, others will be the work of more prosaic scammers.”

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In 2021, the Electoral Commission suffered a cyber-attack, through which China managed to access personal details of those who were registered to vote between 2014 and 2022.

Yesterday police also charged parliamentary researcher, Chris Cash with espionage offences. Cash and Christopher Berry were charged under the Official Secrets Act after being accused of providing prejudicial information to China.

Cole-Hamilton added: “MSPs are privy to an awful lot of confidential and personal information and by dint of our positions may be attractive targets for malign actors. It’s essential that every member is now offered formal training on how to recognise the work of hackers and scammers and the risks we may face. I have asked parliamentary authorities to set up these briefings in order to help myself and my colleagues navigate the traps and the risks. I have warned before that we may already be in the early days of a new Cold War. In those circumstances, ratcheting up our levels of care and caution is only sensible.”

Sofia Villegas

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