The UK government was infected by a variant of the information stealing Zeus trojan back in December, foreign secretary William Hague has revealed.
Speaking during the Munich Security Conference, Hague confirmed that cyber criminals had managed to successfully infect UK government computers with the virus as part of an international conspiracy to infect computers belonging to UK government organisations
Hague said that a number of international recipients received spoofed e-mails, designed to look like they were sent from the White House luring the recipients into clicking on a rogue link that instantly downloaded the virus on their computer systems.
“The UK government was targeted in this attack and a large number of emails bypassed some of our filters. Our experts were able to clear up the infection, but more sophisticated attacks such as these are becoming more common,” he explained.
"The e-mail claimed to be about a forthcoming visit to the region and looked quite innocent," he said.
"In fact it was from a hostile state intelligence agency and contained computer code embedded in the attached document that would have attacked their machine. Luckily, our systems identified it and stopped it from ever reaching my staff."