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MPs slammed for lax cybersecurity practices

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/scyther5)

Questions have been raised about email security within parliament after several MPs appeared to admit to several lax cybersecurity practices.

Nadine Dorries, the MP for Mid Bedfordshire, revealed in a series of tweets over the weekend that her staff log in to her parliamentary office computers used her password. 

She added that her staff, "including interns on exchange programmes", were able to use her logins to send emails in her name, as well as reading her diary.

In a separate tweet replying to a comment on her original one, Dorries added, "All my staff have my login details. A frequent shout when I manage to sit at my desk myself is, ‘what is the password?’"

Dorries later tweeted, "I’m sure if the computers of all MPs - including Labour ones, were investigated there would be a record of porn being accessed. There would, in all cases, be zero proof of who it was who accessed it."

Stunningly, her claims of not being able to recall her passwords were then echoed by fellow Conservative MP Nick Boles, who tweeted, "I certainly do. In fact I often forget my password and have to ask my staff what it is."

Unsurprisingly, Dorries' tweets were met with almost universal condemnation by leading figures in the security industry.

"I wonder how many members of parliament are this reckless with their cybersecurity?  Have none of them heard of password managers?" security expert Graham Cluley tweeted in response.

The tweets came in response to the ongoing investigation into Conservative deputy leader Damian Green, who has been accused of accessing pornography on his parliamentary office computer during a police raid in 2008.

Green denies all the claims, and has rejected calls to resign, however he also faces claims of inappropriate behaviour from a junior Tory activist, raising the pressure on him.

Michael Moore
Michael Moore is News and Features Editor working across both ITProPortal and TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a technology journalist for more than five years, including spells at one of the UK's leading national newspapers. He is interested in hearing about all the latest news and developments across the Business IT world, and how companies are using new technology to help push forward their work and make their customer's lives easier.