Poor old Therese Coffey. She’s a newly elected member of the British parliament, representing the English constituency of Suffolk Coastal.
Therese probably thought that winning a place in parliament would be her biggest fight of the year, but she’s now found herself embroiled in a battle with hackers who have plastered offensive messages over her Twitter page, blog and Facebook account.
Some of the messages spoke in hardly fragrant terms about Samantha Cameron, the wife of her boss, Prime Minister David Cameron. Another sent a veiled threat to Tim Montgomerie, founder of the ConservativeHome website.
At the time of writing the messages are still visible on Therese Coffey’s Twitter page:
Clearly she hasn’t yet completely wrestled back control of that account.
Ms Coffey’s blog offers apologies to people she may have offended: “Apologies – think I am back in control now. Not a nice time in the last hour – hopefully I can trace who did this”
Details of how the hacker, who calls himself “thegh0st” on the compromised Twitter page, broke into the MP’s social networking accounts are unclear – but it wouldn’t be a surprise to hear that poor password security had something to do with it.
The only consolation for Therese Coffey might be that she’s not the first British MP to have been hacked on a social network. Ed Miliband, who is now campaigning to be Labour leader, found himself the victim of a Twitter phishing attack that resulted in his account spamming out “better sex” adverts in February, and we reported a year ago on how Conservative MP Michael Fabricant’s Facebook account distributed links to malicious websites.
More and more users of social networks are encountering security threats. It would do no-one any harm at all to make themselves better acquainted with safe computing practices, and better defend their activities online.