On Saturday 29th October 2022 reports came in that former PM Liz Truss’ personal mobile phone has been hacked by Russian spies. In response to allegations that Russian operatives had hacked Liz Truss’ phone, conservative MPs have joined calls for a probe. The government has been criticised for not taking national security seriously enough.
According to a senior security expert who called the usage of personal phones a “total mess,” it is time for a judicial inquiry into the security of government communications. The then-prime minister Boris Johnson and cabinet secretary Simon Case allegedly imposed a “news blackout,” which the Labour and Liberal Democrats parties demanded the government look into immediately.
Former Tories minister Stephen Hammond and Commons defence select committee chair Tobias Ellwood proposed that the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) of the legislature conduct investigations.
What information has been compromised?
Sensitive information, including conversations with authorities regarding the crisis in Ukraine and weaponry transfers, was allegedly accessed by hackers thought to be working for Russia on Ms. Truss’s phone according to The Mail.
A year’s worth of messages that were compromised included those between Ms. Truss and her future chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng in which the two were critical of Boris Johnson which certain reports raise the possibility of blackmail. The newspaper further asserted that Mr. Johnson and Mr. Case “suppressed” information about the breach, which was allegedly discovered when Ms. Truss was vying for the Tory leadership in the summer of 2022.
Layla Moran, the foreign policy spokesman for the Lib Dems, urged the government to launch an investigation into the alleged hack and for foreign secretary James Cleverly to address it in the Commons on Monday 31st October 2022.
Why Government officials shouldn’t be using consumer messaging apps
Prof. Antony Glees, a renowned security expert, called it “disturbing” that ministers appeared to be using “private phones to conduct government business using WhatsApp and their personal email” and demanded a judicial investigation. The University of Buckingham expert voiced that Ms Truss may not be the only one to have had her personal phone hacked. Stating that “there appears to be a culture of laxness when it comes to national security.”
The reality is that politicians that deal with highly sensitive information that could potentially jeopardise a nation and their security should never be using consumer messaging apps that are not under their control and can be easily intercepted when sharing information or documents. Everyone involved within the political system should be aware of the danger involved when dealing with sensitive information and the risks associated with using these insecure applications. All Government organisations must ensure that they are protecting themselves and their people through using a closed system. Many government organisations already use Salt Communications to protect themselves from the threat of hackers gaining access to their confidential conversations and data.
Governments run the danger of jeopardising their security, resources, and most importantly, the public’s trust and safety by failing to protect local government communications. Government organisations have a responsibility to safeguard all confidential information for the sake of the nation and if they are still relying on consumer messaging systems they must take action now before their information, and communications in regards to national security are exposed to other nation states, if they aren’t already.
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About Salt Communications
Salt Communications is a multi-award winning cyber security company providing a fully enterprise-managed software solution giving absolute privacy in mobile communications. It is easy to deploy and uses multi-layered encryption techniques to meet the highest of security standards. Salt Communications offers ‘Peace of Mind’ for Organisations who value their privacy, by giving them complete control and secure communications, to protect their trusted relationships and stay safe. Salt Communications is headquartered in Belfast, N. Ireland, for more information visit https://saltcommunications.com/.