UK Security Officials Warn Ministers on Possible Whatsapp Hacking

The UK Government Security Group has issued fresh guidance across government in a letter to Labour on Friday warning ministers and civil servants at risk of being targeted by hackers.

The shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Angela Rayner, criticized ministers’ use of WhatsApp and private email, which has emerged in relation to Covid contracts being discussed on personal digital devices.

The shadow security minister, Conor McGinn, said “conducting official government business via WhatsApp risks exposing potentially critical information to hackers and cybercriminals who seek to harm our country”.

The Government Security Group’s letter provided “advice on how to secure devices using two-factor authentication in response to hackers using fake messages to access WhatsApp,” suggesting some officials are not routinely using such authentication.

Hackers are known to have targeted government officials such as ministers in Australia, the Netherlands, and South Africa, who have suffered successful attacks on their digital devices, through WhatsApp.

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