Former Prime Minister Liz Truss’s phone was reportedly hacked by Putin’s agents. The breach, revealed by the Mail on Sunday, is said to have included about a year’s worth of messages.
The hack was discovered during the Tory leadership campaign, Ms Truss was Foreign Secretary. Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Cabinet Secretary Simon Case reportedly wanted to keep the hack under wraps.
Private messages between the former Prime Minister and her close friend and political ally Kwasi Kwarteng are believed to have been lifted by Putin’s agents.
Messages critical of then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson are also said to have been stolen. There is thought to be concern that Ms Truss and Mr Kwarteng could be subject to potential blackmail due to the critical nature of the messages.
Alarmingly, sensitive talks with foreign ministers about the war in Ukraine are said to have fallen into the Kremlin’s hands, including details about arms shipments.
It was reported that Ms Truss changed her mobile number, which she had been the same for more than 10 years, shortly before taking the job as Prime Minister.
The switch reportedly caused confusion among Cabinet Ministers trying to contact her and could be related to the breach.
However, a source with knowledge of the incident told the Mail on Sunday: “This caused absolute pandemonium. Boris was told immediately, and it was agreed with the Cabinet Secretary that there should be a total news blackout.
“It is not a great look for the intelligence services if the Foreign Secretary’s phone can be so easily plundered for embarrassing personal messages by agents presumed to be working for Putin’s Russia.”
Hacking a politicians phone has become more commonplace in the intelligence world over recent years.
An Israeli spyware named Pegasus was famously used to hack into the phones of activists, journalists and politicians around the globe.
The software can enter a victims phone through a simple text message, no links have to be clicked and the message does not need to be opened for the spyware to infect the phone. Once activated, it runs in the background collecting information.
Although the type of software used in this hack is not believed to be known, Russia is known to have used cyber attacks against the West previously.
More to follow.