Scottish Parliament repels 'brute-force cyberattack' as MSPs urged to toughen up passwords

Written by Sam Trendall on 17 August 2017 in News
News

Holyrood reports that systems remain operational and no accounts are known to have been breached following assault by 'external forces'

Survey finds worrying prevalence of simplistic passwords in use by MSPs and Holyrood staff  Credit: PA

The Scottish Parliament appears to have successfully repelled a “brute-force cyberattack”, with all systems remaining up and running and no accounts known to have been breached.

Yesterday afternoon Holyrood chief executive Paul Grice informed MSPs and staff that the parliament’s monitoring technology had detected that the organisation was under attack from “external sources”. 

The assault was described as being “brute force” in nature, indicating that the perpetrators used tools to bombard systems with numerous attempted logins in an attempt to effect a breach via sheer weight of probability – rather than any through any technological or psychological guile.


Related content


Grice said that the parliament’s effective security set-up had helped catch the attack swiftly, and that further measures to combat and mitigate the threat had subsequently been taken. IT systems were still working, and no accounts were known to have been compromised, he added.

But staff and MSPs were warned that the attack might see them temporarily locked out of their account. Grice added that a survey had found a worryingly high level of simplistic passwords, that tools designed to execute brute-force attacks could likely crack. All Holyrood members and employees were urged to make sure their logins were sufficiently secure.

The Scottish Parliament is working with the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre to ensure it remains safe.

The attack on Holyrood is similar in nature to one perpetrated on Westminster MPs earlier this summer, Grice noted.

 

About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

Share this page

Tags

Categories

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM READERS

Please login to post a comment or register for a free account.

Related Articles

Ex-Whitehall top dog to join board of defence and security firm
27 June 2022

Former cabinet secretary Mark Sedwill has landed a non-executive role at BAE Systems

10 Downing St offers over £100k for data science whizz
23 June 2022

Prime minister’s in-house data science unit seeks senior manager to deliver ‘high-impact’ initiatives 

GDS spent £5m on ‘data and user insights’ last year
23 June 2022

Minister reveals organisation undertook a range of work to gain insights into performance of services

Government to offer schools cyber response and insurance services
21 June 2022

From next school year, organisations will be able to benefit from monitoring and help with costs