Politicians and advisers caught up in phishing attack

03/04/2024 | The Guardian

A spear-phishing attack targeting more than a dozen politicians, advisers, and journalists in Westminster has led to cybersecurity experts suspecting an attempt to compromise them. 

According to Politico, twelve men, including three MPs, a serving government minister, two political journalists, a broadcaster, four party staff members, a former Conservative MP and a manager of an all-party parliamentary group, received unsolicited WhatsApp messages from two unknown mobile numbers in the past six months. 

The Guardian has since spoken with a 13th man targeted in the same way by a WhatsApp user named "Abigail" or "Abi." The story has sparked concerns about attempts to persuade MPs, advisers, officials, and others working in Westminster to share compromising information and use it to threaten or blackmail them.

Then, on Thursday, it was revealed that Leicestershire police had opened an investigation into what appears to have been an attack on Parliament. 

The news was followed by a report in the evening indicating that William Wragg, a Conservative MP for Hazel Grove in Greater Manchester, admitted to giving out the personal phone numbers of colleagues to a person he met on a dating app. Wragg said that he gave the information after revealing it: "They had compromising things on me. They wouldn't leave me alone. They would ask for people... I gave them some numbers, not all of them. I told him to stop. He's manipulated me and now I've hurt other people."

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