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British ministers’ phone numbers leaked in app flaw

Published by on September 30th, 2018.


Phone numbers and other personal details of senior ministers from Britain ’ s Conservative party were made public by an app security flaw on Saturday, including those of top Brexiteers Michael Gove and Boris Johnson . Several top MPs reportedly received nuisance calls after their profiles were accessed on the official mobile application for the annual party conference , which kicks off this weekend. The security breach saw members of the public able to enter the profiles using just the politicians ’ email addresses — easily available online — to view and edit the data stored within. Former foreign secretary Johnson had his profile picture briefly swapped for pornography and his job title changed to a profane insult , according to several Twitter users . Meanwhile , Environment Secretary Gove’ s picture was changed to one of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, his former employer when he was a journalist . Among the first to report the flaw was Dawn Foster , a columnist for The Guardian . “ The Tory conference app allows you to log in as other people and view their contact details just with their email address , no emailed security links , and post comments as them, ” she wrote on Twitter, using a colloquial name for the party . “ They ’ ve essentially made every journalist , politician and attendee ’ s mobile number public . Fantastic . ” A Conservative party spokesperson apologised for the breach, saying the technical issue had “ been resolved and the app is now functioning securely ” . Britain ’ s data watchdog , the Information Commissioner’ s Office ( ICO ), said it was investigating the data breach related to the app , which was developed by an Australian firm called Crown Comms . The opposition Labour Party said the blunder showed the ruling party could not be trusted in matters of security . “ They can ’ t even build a conference app that keeps the data of their members , MPs and others attending safe and secure, ” said shadow cabinet office minister Jon Trickett. The breach is the latest embarrassment for Prime Minister Theresa May’ s embattled party , whose yearly gathering begins on Sunday in the city of Birmingham in central England . Last year ’ s conference was peppered with mishaps , with May’ s attempt to move past Brexit splits marred by a protest , a collapsing set and a coughing fit . During the 2017 event , a prankster interrupted the leader ’ s address by handing her a P45 — a form given to those leaving a job . No sooner had she resumed , May began coughing uncontrollably and continued to struggle on and off throughout the rest of the speech , as two letters fell off the slogan on the wall behind her .

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