According to the UK’s Sky News, the attack struck the UK post office, local government institutions, and private companies. Thousands of people had their personal information stolen during the attack, including the email address and mobile phone number of the Post Office chief executive as well as personal details belonging to thousands of employees.
Mobile phone numbers of MPs and peers were among data harvested during an attack last December, Sky News reported.
This is not the first time the UK has been targeted by such an attack. According to Sky, four security sources it consulted confirmed that Iran was behind the attacks. It was determined that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, a terrorist paramilitary wing of the Islamist Iranian regime, was behind the assault, as well as a 2017 attack on the UK parliament’s network.
It is understood that private sector companies, including banks, were also compromised in what has been described as an "ongoing" campaign.
Sky News has learnt that the Post Office and local government networks were both hit in coordinated attacks on 23 December. It has also been reported that Israel is frequently the target of such cyber-attacks by Iran.
The National Cyber Security Centre said it was "aware of a cyber incident affecting some UK organisations in late 2018" and that it was "working with victims and advising on mitigation measures."
The implications of such attacks are insidious. Once addresses and personal details have been hacked, attackers can start impersonating members of government or people within other government run institutions who can then subvert and alter internal and external communications with malicious intent.