7 takeaways from Westminster’s ‘honey trap’ sex photos scandal – POLITICO

Dominik Wojtczak, director of the Cybersecurity Institute at the University of Liverpool, said he believed the messages were part of a “spear phishing attack” and that “the aim was most likely simply to obtain indecent images of the victims, then blackmail them.”

Daniel Prince, a professor of cybersecurity at Lancaster University, said that while these activities range from fraudulent romantic messages to “classic nation-state espionage,” the speed at which these cases have evolved into exchange of explicit photos suggests they were less sophisticated.

But Ciaran Martin, former chief executive of the UK’s National Cyber ​​Security Centre, said: “Malicious actors, including nation states, have a history of using digital messaging to attempt to maintain relationships with people they believe have political influence. Some of these activities are high quality and compelling. Some of them can be spotted a mile away.

7) WhatsApp makes it easy to scam

The rise of instant messaging and social media makes it easier to carry out targeted attacks, with malicious actors able to create virtual numbers and purchase cheap SIM cards off the shelf.

John Scott Railton, a senior phishing researcher at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, told POLITICO that neither phone number was registered on a mainstream cell phone network.

When POLITICO then called the “Charlie” number, a man not connected to the messages answered and said he had recently started using the number through TextMe — the U.S.-based app provides its users with “numbers “assigned” temporary files allowing them to send text messages. There is no suggestion of wrongdoing on the part of the company.


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