Home Majority of UK MPs have had their data leaked to the dark web

Majority of UK MPs have had their data leaked to the dark web

More than two-thirds of British politicians have had their data leaked to the dark web, according to the latest data.

68% of British politicians currently sitting in the House of Commons. That includes some who are supposed to be in charge of the UK’s cybersecurity.

The new data stems from a joint investigation between digital risk firm Constella Intelligence and privacy service Proton. Out of 650 MPs, 443 have had some form of personal data using details exposed on the dark web, mostly gathered from third-party services MPs have signed up to via their parliamentary email addresses.

This compares to just 44% of EU MEPs. While that’s still a worrying percentage at just under half, French deputies and senators had the best security, with only 18% of searched emails appearing in hacker exchanges.

“The fact that these emails, which are publicly available on government websites, are on the dark web isn’t a security failure by itself,” wrote Richie Koch, editor for Proton. “Nor is it evidence of a hack of the British, European, or French parliaments.

“Instead, it shows that politicians used their official email addresses to set up accounts on third-party websites (which were later hacked or suffered a breach), putting themselves and the information they’re entrusted to keep safe needlessly at risk.”

What personal data from MPs were hacked?

216 plain text passwords associated with MPs’ accounts were exposed on the dark web, breaking down to including up to 10 passwords exposed for a single MP. However, parliamentary emails were the biggest piece of data involved, being exposed 2,110 times. Those most frequently targeted faced up to 30 breaches.

While emails may not seem like a major concern, the combination of those with passwords can unlock a lot more doors to users’ online accounts. Cybercriminals will often use the tactic of ‘credential stuffing’ to enter thousands of stolen passwords and emails into different platforms, in the hope of gaining access to different accounts.

What’s more, some social media profiles were also affected, including 16 breaches of Instagram profiles, 117 of LinkedIn, 21 of X, and 21 of Facebook. This risk to personal information on social media profiles.is especially alarming.

This isn’t the first time that the UK government has suffered a data breach, with an accusation leveled at China for hacking the British Ministry of Defence.

Featured image: Unsplash

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Rachael Davies
Tech Journalist

Rachael Davies has spent six years reporting on tech and entertainment, writing for publications like the Evening Standard, Huffington Post, Dazed, and more. From niche topics like the latest gaming mods to consumer-faced guides on the latest tech, she puts her MA in Convergent Journalism to work, following avenues guided by a variety of interests. As well as writing, she also has experience in editing as the UK Editor of The Mary Sue , as well as speaking on the important of SEO in journalism at the Student Press Association National Conference. You can find her full portfolio over on…

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.