The most recent incident — during which the national Post Office and other government networks were compromised — took place on December 23.
The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre said it was “aware of a cyber incident affecting some UK organisations in late 2018” and that it was “working with victims and advising on mitigation measures.”
The report says the hackers managed to steal data containing personal details of thousands of employees, including high-level executives like Post Office chief Paula Vennells.
A cyber security team in California found that the same group was responsible for an attack on Britain’s parliamentary network in 2017.
Sky News reported at the time that 10,204 individual data records were compromised in the 2017 attack, mainly from the parliament’s global address lists. It noted that a number of members of parliament were victims of the attack.
The vice president of UK cyber security firm Glasswall told the agency that the data could have been stolen with the intent of launching a deeper attack.
“As we’ve seen, you can do anything… influence elections, in particular. You can start to impersonate people within that government as well and be utterly convincing,” Lewis Henderson said. “The levels of trust that the global address list puts in place is completely eroded once you’ve lost that information, once it’s out there in the hands of the attackers.”
“We know that they could be impersonating members of our own government and starting to alter or disrupt communications,” he added.
British security services have yet to confirm the report, though Sky News claims four separate security sources have said they believe its findings to be correct.
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