Malware Infections Affect Computers at the House of Commons
Among almost 5,000 PCs used by the UK MPs, administrators and other staff, 8% required cleaning up as they had been infected by malicious programs over the last 12 months starting from May 2008, informs Liberal Democrat MP Nick Harvey who is also the member of the House of Commons Commission, as reported by ZDNet on May 21, 2009.
The information was revealed when Harvey answered a written query that Tim Loughton, a Conservative MP, put up under the parliamentary norms.
Furthermore, it is learnt that during 2008, 86% of PCs at the Commons had been hit by malicious programs, but the Parliament's automated antivirus solutions cleaned 78% of them.
Loughton also enquired from specific ministers about the details of the attacks occurred in 2008. Replying to that, Angela Eagle, Treasury Minister, said that from the 1,600 computers in her department, engineers had identified 4 as infected that they duly cleaned.
In addition, Ben Bradshaw, Minister of Health, said that no case of malware attack had been found at the Department of Health, while other ministers related to the departments of local government and communities, schools, children and families and transport said they had no information about the attacks, as reported by ZDNet on May 21, 2009.
In March 2009, the computer network at the House of Commons was subject to infection by Conficker, a computer worm that slowed down the network's speed.
The disclosure of the event caused the organization considerable embarrassment since Microsoft had already issued an emergency patch in October 2008 to fix the problem, but the organization apparently displayed lax in applying it.
Commenting on this point, the security specialists stated that it was more important to have parliamentary computers secured than the computers of any usual office system, as MP's work related to their constituencies was highly confidential and its leakage even more embarrassing.
According to the specialists, politicians -typically lecturers or lawyers, who have very low skill in computers and even lower knowledge of information security - should necessarily gear up to become accustomed with the Net in the most appropriate manner.
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» SPAMfighter News - 26-05-2009