Mail on Sunday discovered a US website listing the current contact details of nearly all British ministers
The personal mobile phone numbers of Prime Minister Liz Truss and 25 UK Cabinet ministers can be easily obtained on a US website that offers a subscription to its searchable database for just £6.49 ($7.25) a week, Mail on Sunday has revealed.
The site, the name of which the newspaper chose not to disclose, claims to list more than 14 billion files with stolen data. Some of the cyberattacks go back more than a decade, according to the outlet. Besides the phone numbers of almost the entire UK Cabinet, the website reportedly offers their email addresses, passwords and other personal information.
Before publishing the article, Mail on Sunday notified the government of the security breach. On Saturday, the ministers discussed the threat with national security advisers, according to the newspaper.
“The Government is aware that websites exist that aggregate details from historical data breaches, therefore much of the data on these websites is old and incorrect,” a Cabinet Office spokesman said, as quoted by the outlet.
Mail on Sunday, however, claims that it had checked the information on the website and can confirm that the ministers’ phone numbers, including the one of the prime minister, are up to date.
Personal details of the current government’s opposition have also been compromised, the newspaper wrote, as the website features the phone number of Labour leader Keir Starmer, as well as of seven Labour frontbenchers.
The site is registered at an address in a disadvantaged area of Las Vegas. A Mail on Sunday reporter visited it on Friday – just to discover a “scruffy” office, used as a service address for “hundreds of companies.” A receptionist was unable to provide the journalist with any information about the people behind the database.
The personal details of UK government members have reportedly been targeted by hackers on multiple occasions. As recently as this past April, according to The Telegraph, the Foreign Office launched an urgent investigation into how the private data of government employees had ended up on Russian social media sites.
Last year, the Government Security Group criticized ministers for making themselves easy targets for cyberattacks and advised them to stop using WhatsApp and personal emails for business purposes.