UK politician ‘s email hacked by Russian suspects
A Scottish nationalist politician says hackers believed to be from Russian intelligence have penetrated his private email account, and is warning voters that his messages could become part of a disinformation campaign.
Stuart MacDonald, a member of the Scottish National Party and member of the UK Parliament, tweeted early Wednesday that he had fallen victim to a spear-phishing attack whose tactics matched those detailed in a recent government advisory on activity from Russia’s Seaborgium Group.
“I assume some of the stolen information may appear online,” MacDonald wrote. “I also do not doubt that among some real emails there will be completely false emails, mixed in with emails that are real. This is an old tactic,” he added.
Cybersecurity organizations, including the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, have documented “tainted leaks” of Russian actors smuggling false information into a large pool of authentically stolen data.
Speaking to the BBC, MacDonald said the attack began on January 13 when he received an email that appeared to be from an employee related to the Ukrainian defense. He clicked and filled in his email credentials to access the attached document, supposedly a military update.
The BBC reports that McDonald contacted the National Cyber Security Center just as the agency was preparing to release its Seaborgium alert.
As the BBC says, the British government has not officially accused the Russian state of being behind the threat actor.
“Having spoken to members of Parliament’s security team and also the NCSC, I am confident that my inboxes are now secure. The hacked private email account is no longer in active use by me now,” McDonald tweeted. His official email – including data sensitive contained in it – was not affected by the hack, he said.
Russian-backed APT groups actively target Western organizations and leaders who criticize Russia’s war in Ukraine. Macdonald, a 2020 recipient of the Order of Merit of Ukraine, has long supported Ukraine’s right to exist without Russian control.