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UK Parliament gets hit by hackers

Some members' remote email access is cut off as part of efforts to secure the computer network against a cyberattack.

The Houses of Parliament silhouetted against a setting sun

Hackers are prodding Parliament.

Getty Images

"Sorry no parliamentary email access today -- we're under cyber attack from Kim Jong Un, Putin or a kid in his mom's basement or something..."

That's the word Saturday from UK parliament member Henry Smith, whose Twitter post about a hacking attack aimed at the British government was no joke.

A spokesperson for the House of Commons said officials had "discovered unauthorised attempts to access accounts of parliamentary networks users" and that remote email access had been temporarily restricted as a precaution.

"Some Members of Parliament and staff cannot access their email accounts outside of Westminster," the spokesperson said.

Parliamentary officials are working with the National Cyber Security Centre to investigate the attack and further lock down the computer network, the spokesperson said, adding that, "We have systems in place to protect member and staff accounts and are taking the necessary steps to protect our systems."

Meanwhile, House of Lords member Chris Rennard also took to Twitter to give a heads-up: "Cyber security attack on Westminster Parliamentary emails may not work remotely Text urgent messages."

The attack is the latest in a series of high-profile hacking assaults against politicians and others. Smith's tongue-in-cheek tweet seems to reference the current investigations in the US about alleged Russian interference in the recent presidential election there. It may also nod at alleged Russian meddling in France's elections and North Korea's alleged involvement in the WannaCry ransomware attack that hit UK hospitals last month.

It's not clear at this point who might be behind the Parliament attack.

"We will continue to keep Members of both Houses of Parliament and the public updated as the situation develops," the spokesperson said.

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