- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 14, 2017

Iranian government hackers conducted a sustained cyberattack over the summer targeting U.K. politicians including Prime Minister Theresa May, successfully compromising dozens of email accounts belonging to members of Parliament, British news media reported Saturday.

State-sponsored hackers traced to the regime in Tehran targeted about 9,000 email accounts associated with dozens of members of British parliament, cabinet ministers, Mrs. May and others during a 12-hour-long brute force attack waged June 23, according to a secret intelligence assessment first reported by The Times and independently verified by The Guardian.

Ninety email accounts in all were compromised as a result of the attack, or about one percent of the total accounts targeted, the reports said, including roughly 30 members of Parliament, one of the victims told The Times.

The prime minister’s emails weren’t at risk because Mrs. May uses an account associated with the Prime Minister’s office rather than Parliament, but intelligence officials believe it’s inevitable the hackers obtained sensitive material, The Times reported.

The U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre said it was investigating the incident and that it was “inappropriate to comment further while inquiries are ongoing.”

Parliament’s IT services department said at the time of the attack that it had detected “unusual activity” on its network and ultimately concluded that hackers had conducted “a sustained and determined attack on all parliamentary user accounts in an attempt to identify weak passwords.”

The U.S. has repeatedly accused Iran of hacking American targets in the past, but Britain has failed so far to publicly blame Tehran with waging any cyberattacks against the U.K.

Iran did not immediately respond publicly to the reports, which came hardly a day after President Trump announced plans to decertify his predecessor’s hallmark nuclear agreement with Iran.

“The regime remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, and provides assistance to al Qaeda, the Taliban, Hezbollah, Hamas and other terrorist networks,” Mr. Trump said of Iran on Friday. “It develops, deploys and proliferates missiles that threaten American troops and our allies. It harasses American ships and threatens freedom of navigation in the Arabian Gulf and in the Red Sea. It imprisons Americans on false charges. And it launches cyberattacks against our critical infrastructure, financial system and military.”

Ms. May issued a joint statement Friday evening with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron urging Mr. Trump to rethink his actions regarding the nuclear deal.


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