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Minister Chris Heaton-Harris apologises for ‘deeply unpleasant’ messages after Twitter hack | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker


Chris Heaton-Harris was forced to apologise today after hackers accessed his Twitter account and posted a series of offensive messages.

In the latest ministerial cyber-security breach, the Northern Ireland Secretary’s feed was breached overnight. 

The tweets included a racial slur and a threat to jail gay and transgender people before they were deleted.

It came after his Cabinet colleague Gillian Keegan was targeted over the festive period. 

And Liz Truss’s phone was hacked by criminals believed to be working for Russia when she was foreign secretary last year. 

Only this week ministers and large numbers of civil servants were warned they are vulnerable to hackers after personal data was left online. 

In the latest ministerial cyber-security breach, the Northern Ireland Secretary's feed was breached overnight. Some of the tweets included swearing and one a racial slur.

In the latest ministerial cyber-security breach, the Northern Ireland Secretary’s feed was breached overnight. Some of the tweets included swearing and one a racial slur.

Eventually, the Northern Ireland Secretary appeared to get hold of his account, as the posts were deleted and he apologised in a new tweet.

Eventually, the Northern Ireland Secretary appeared to get hold of his account, as the posts were deleted and he apologised in a new tweet.

Eventually, the Northern Ireland Secretary appeared to get hold of his account, as the posts were deleted and he apologised in a new tweet.

It came after his Cabinet colleague Gillian Keegan was targeted over the festive period.

It came after his Cabinet colleague Gillian Keegan was targeted over the festive period.

It came after his Cabinet colleague Gillian Keegan was targeted over the festive period.

The Northern Ireland Secretary deleted the tweets and wrote on his account: ‘My Twitter account was hacked this morning, messages not posted by me have been deleted.’

However, the tweet disappeared shortly afterwards and his account posted a string of further tweets, which suggested security had once again been compromised.

In one, the account said: ‘We are passing a new law soon, all transgenders and homosexuals will now serve 10 years behind bars.’

The tweet was posted twice as whoever appeared to hack into Mr Heaton-Harris’s account spelt ‘serve’ as ‘server’ the first time.

Eventually, the Northern Ireland Secretary appeared to get hold of his account, as the posts were deleted and he apologised in a new tweet.

He said: ‘I’m afraid my Twitter account was hacked overnight and someone posted some deeply unpleasant stuff on my account for which I can only apologise.’

Experts have voiced alarm that ministers could be easily tricked into revealing sensitive information using a database of contact details.

Names, job titles and email addresses of 45,000 civil servants were available on the Government Communication Service (GCS) website.

The contacts were taken down in March 2020 due to work on the site, but a message insists they will return soon, according to The Times.

In 3,000 cases mobile phone numbers were included, while others featured Twitter and LinkedIn profiles. 

Liz Truss’s personal phone – including private messages she exchanged with Kwasi Kwarteng – was hacked by agents suspected of working for Russian President Vladimir Putin

A source with knowledge of the incident said that the security breach ‘caused absolute pandemonium – Boris was told immediately, and it was agreed with the Cabinet Secretary that there should be a total news blackout

A source with knowledge of the incident said that the security breach ‘caused absolute pandemonium – Boris was told immediately, and it was agreed with the Cabinet Secretary that there should be a total news blackout

A source with knowledge of the incident said that the security breach ‘caused absolute pandemonium – Boris was told immediately, and it was agreed with the Cabinet Secretary that there should be a total news blackout

Mr Heaton-Harris’s account being exposed comes just over a week after Education Secretary Gillian Keegan’s account fell victim to hackers who used it to promote crypto currency and post images of Twitter owner Elon Musk.

Last year, Liz Truss’s personal mobile phone was hacked by agents suspected of working for the Kremlin.

The cyber-spies are believed to have gained access to top-secret exchanges with key international partners as well as private conversations with her leading political ally, Kwasi Kwarteng when the brief Pm was foreign secretary.

One source said that the phone was so heavily compromised last summer that it was placed in a locked safe inside a secure Government location.

The hack was discovered during the summer’s Tory leadership campaign but the details were suppressed by Boris Johnson, who was Prime Minister at the time, and the Cabinet Secretary, Simon Case. 

It is understood that messages which fell into foreign hands included criticisms Ms Truss and her future Chancellor Mr Kwarteng made of Mr Johnson, leading to the potential risk of blackmail. Sources said that up to a year’s worth of messages were downloaded.

They are also believed to have included highly sensitive discussions with senior international foreign ministers about the war in Ukraine, including detailed discussions about arms shipments.

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