Royal Cyber Security Significantly Increased

A growing concern for  the British Royal Family are the threat from hackers and other cyber criminals who pose a security threat and it emerges that Queen Elizabeth has taken the decision to increase the royal's cyber security. 

Her Majesty's cyber security experts have outlined in a report that the risk of unauthorised access to the Royal's data has increased.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, Her Majesty has engaged in several video calls as well as video chats with people around the globe. But a new report has suggested 'the Firm' is now a high rather than medium risk of being hacked.

The warning, written by Keeper of the Privy Purse, Sir Michael Stevens, is thought to refer to hackers in China and Russia. It warns any hacking on the Royal Family would cause “reputational damage, penalties and/or legal action against the Household or members of staff”. In 2015 Oxford University Professor Sadie Creese was hired to instruct the monarch on social media safety and Queen Elizabeth has now ordered that defences against hackers be strengthened after learning the Royal Family is a high-risk target, resulting in a number changes to the Royal household.

In particular, ex-MI5 chief Andrew Parker was made head of her Royal Household and Elliott Atkins appointed as her first CISO  in a bid to prevent online attacks. 

In 2020 the Queen carried out almost half of her 2020 official engagements by telephone or video link and the over the years, several members of the Royal Family have been victims of phone hacking, including Prince William,  the Duchess of Cambridge, as well as Prince Harry. The Duchess of Cambridge had her messages hacked 155 times in the space of a few months between 2005 and 2006, including on Christmas Day and Valentine's Day. William was also hacked 35 times, and Harry nine times. It is also believed personal phone details for Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, were found among 11,000 handwritten notes that were seized during a Scotland Yard inquiry in 2006.

In August 2020 Russian hackers allegedly stole "hundreds" of Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle's personal photos including pictures of the Queen at their wedding in a security breach and this alleged data leak was a "wake up call" for the couple.    

The Queen has recently signed into law the 2020 Telecommunications Security Bill the purpose of which is:

  • Give the Government new powers to boost the security standards of the UK’s telecoms networks and establish one of the strongest regimes for telecoms security in the world. 
  • Strengthen the security and oversight of technology used in telecoms networks including the electronic equipment and software used across the network which handle internet traffic and telephone calls. 
  • Ensure that the Government can respond to national security threats within our networks now and in the future, as technologies evolve and new threats emerge. 

The main benefits of the Bill would be: 

  • Ensuring the long-term security and resilience of the UK’s telecoms networks and infrastructure and minimising the threat of high-risk vendors. 
  • Giving people confidence in the security of the mobile and broadband networks which they rely upon for business and leisure, in an age where new and potentially transformative technologies such as 5G and gigabit-capable broadband are emerging. 
  • Delivering on the Government’s commitment in the 2019 Telecoms Supply Chain Review Report to introduce a new, robust telecoms security framework. 

With a rise in the Royal Household's reliance on technology to stay in touch, especially during the pandemic, cyber security is now clearly an important issue.  

GovUK:       Express:     Flipboard:        World News Here:         Daily Star:      

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