A Catholic British MP has spoken out about “hacking attempts” against him coming from inside Iran and Russia.
Tom Tugendhat, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee, also explained how there had been “attempted troublemaking” using an email address pretending to be him based in mainland China.
Mr Tugendhat, who serves as Tory MP for Tonbridge and Malling in Kent, spoke about the cyber issues to Times Radio.
Speaking to presenter Matt Chorley, Mr Tugendhat said: “So the first I knew about this I got an email from somebody I’d done an interview with months, maybe even a year or so before, for a newspaper in East Asia.
“They asked me to confirm some details that they were a bit suspicious of.
“Given I hadn’t spoken to them for a long time, I was pretty surprised and it turned out that somebody had pretty much copied my email address and got in touch with a journalist I’d been in touch with and had sent what looked like a press release from me claiming that I was announcing various different changes of policy on behalf of the Government.”
Concerned, he reached out to a contact at Google HQ and asked them to look into what was happening.
Mr Tugendhat continued: “And what was quite surprising was where the account was registered and where it all happened, if you like, and it was pretty clear it was coming from an address in mainland China.”
He described the activity as “attempted troublemaking” and the fake announcements were “designed to put the cat amongst the pigeons”.
Mr Tugendhat also asked Google to investigate other suspicious emails sent from an account that looked very similar to his own.
He said: “They did so extremely quickly I have to say, they did the first email, they had the address, they’d taken down the account within about four hours of me raising the concern, which is pretty quick as anybody who has had to deal with anything online will know.
“And since then I’ve found various attempts to break into the account – hacking attempts, I’ve been told – from Ethiopia and from Iran and from Russia.”
Picture: Tom Tugendhat. (Niall Carson/PA).