The attack was said to be looking for weaknesses in the password strength of email accounts.
On Saturday, the British parliament was hit by a “sustained and determined” cyberattack that was aimed at identifying weak email passwords.
The development comes just over a month after a ransomware worm crippled parts of UK’s health service.
With regard to Saturday’s attack, the House of Commons said it was working with the National Cyber Security Centre to defend the parliament’s network; it was confident of protecting all accounts and systems.
“Earlier this morning we discovered unusual activity and evidence of an attempted cyber-attack on our computer network,” reads an email sent by parliamentary authorities to those people affected said.
It goes on to read, “Closer investigation by our team confirmed that hackers were carrying out a sustained and determined attack on all parliamentary user accounts in an attempt to identify weak passwords.”
“Cyber security attack on Westminster, Parliamentary emails may not work remotely, Text urgent messages,” tweeted Chris Rennard, a member of the Liberal Democrat party in the upper House of Lords who was the first to draw attention to the problem.
“As a precaution we have temporarily restricted remote access to the network. As a result, some Members of Parliament and staff cannot access their email accounts outside of Westminster,” said a spokeswoman for the House of Commons while confirming that unauthorized attempts had been made to access parliamentary accounts.
“We’ve seen reports in the last few days of even cabinet ministers’ passwords being for sale online,” said Liam Fox, UK’s minister for international trade.
“We know that our public services are attacked so it’s not at all surprising that there should be an attempt to hack into parliamentary emails.”