The leak of classified U.S and UK trade documents in the run-up to Britain’s 2019 elections were allegedly stolen by Russian hackers. The documents were supposedly accessed from the email inbox of former trade minister, Liam Fox, between July 12 and October 21, revealed Reuters. Whilst choosing not to name the Russian organisation responsible, the anonymous sources affirmed that it was likely a state-backed operation.
Cyber security expert Tim Sadler, CEO of Tessian, said that these events show how destructive a spear phishing email can be. “Spear phishing is fast becoming a lucrative and attractive method of attack for cybercriminals. It’s not surprising; it’s relatively simple to do, highly effective and has a high ROI, especially when the target is a high-profile individual,” said Sadler.
Sadler explained that security teams should read today’s news as a cautionary tale ahead of the US elections in November 2020: “Today’s news will act as a warning for security teams in government organisations to ensure they have addressed any concerns over email security and put measures in place to detect advanced impersonation scams and protect their staff.”