My staff log onto my computer on my desk with my login everyday. Including interns on exchange programmes. For the officer on @BBCNews just now to claim that the computer on Greens desk was accessed and therefore it was Green is utterly preposterous !!
— Nadine Dorries (@NadineDorries) December 2, 2017
This tweet by member of Parliament Nadine Dorries was enough to gave significantly raise the blood pressure of half the infosec professionals in the world.
After getting a bit of ‘stick’, the MP tried to defuse the situation by claiming she was a mere back bench MP – an insignificant minion.
Flattered by number of people on here who think I’m part of the Government and have access to government docs 😅
I’m a back bench MP – 2 Westminster based computers in a shared office. On my computer, there is a shared email account. That’s it. Nothing else. Sorry to disappoint!
— Nadine Dorries (@NadineDorries) December 3, 2017
Some other MPs jumped to say, it’s a common occurence and that people are blowing it up into a major issue
I certainly do. In fact I often forget my password and have to ask my staff what it is.
— Nick Boles MP (@NickBoles) December 3, 2017
Maybe five or ten years ago this wouldn’t have been an issue at all. But the world is very different today – attacks are very different and chaining together a series of attacks from even a compromised “low-level” employee isn’t all that difficult. Especially where MPs can make an attractive target to foreign, unfriendly agencies.
Like most things in life, nothing is ever black and white. Password sharing does occur, despite there being technology solutions in place to facilitate sharing in a manner whereby accountability remains. It happens in most companies. But that’s not quite what I take exception to here.
The attitude displayed by MPs is what is concerning. The casual brushing off, as if it is something that should be accepted.
It’s a bit like using a mobile phone while driving, or driving over the speed limit… or using a mobile phone while driving over the speed limit. Even though it puts lives at risk, most people have done it at some point. Completely eradicating such behaviour is impossible, but you wouldn’t accept the excuse of, “Well everybody else does it” especially if it came from a bus driver.
Similarly, society shouldn’t be willing to accept the risky behaviour displayed by people in government or other sensitive roles.
But maybe that is where infosec professionals can do a better job of educating the masses. Perhaps only when risky behaviour is shunned at a societal level – like the dirty looks you get for not separating your green from general waste – that people’s attitudes will change.