Responding to the recent cyber-attack

As things settle down following the ‘sustained and determined’ cyberattack on Parliamentary IT systems , Daniel Thornton of the Institute for Government has posted an article  in which he says  that MPs are particularly vulnerable and need to take responsibility for their cyber security.

You can read it on their website.  Daniel notes that ‘the parliamentary authorities, drawing upon advice from NCSC, do provide support to MPs. But MPs are often too busy to take advantage of this support and many do not understand the issues involved.,

And he goes on to say:

Three steps could be taken to support cyber security in Parliament. Firstly, MPs must better understand digital technology. Secondly, MPs must make use of the help that is already on offer from parliamentary authorities. Finally, parliamentary authorities must improve digital and online security.

However like many commentators he seems to believe that MPs run their own systems, and doesn’t consider the skills and capabilities of staff, who need support to learn and deal with these many risks.

 

 

Having problems logging in?

As you will be aware, as a result of the cyber-attack at the weekend, the good folks in the IT department have been working round the clock to protect the system.

Many of you will find that you are having problems logging in at the moment, whilst the work is ongoing.

Please do not ring the help desk.   If you’re on the Parliamentary estate, please be patient and don’t swamp the help desk with calls – they are working on it as fast as they can, and every extra phone call takes them away from the task in hand.   If  you do need to speak to someone, please go one of the drop-in centres instead:

Drop-in centres
Lords Members and Lords Members staff: Moses Room (9am)
Commons Members: Members Centre, PCH (9am)

Commons Members staff: Boothroyd Room (10am)
Staff of both Houses and Digital Service Staff: Boothroyd Room (10am)

Digital Service colleagues will be floor-walking in Fielden House, Millbank House, 7 Millbank and 14 Tothill Street from 10.00 am.

If you’re in the Constituency

Please be patient.  The Digital Service team will contact you in due course – there’s a lot of people to contact, so it will take a while.

Issues with Parliamentary email

Remote access to email is currently limited following the discovery of an attack intended to disclose passwords.  This also limits remote access to the intranet.

On June 24 a parliamentary spokesperson said:

“We have discovered unauthorised attempts to access accounts of parliamentary networks users and are investigating this ongoing incident, working closely with the National Cyber Security Centre.

Parliament has robust measures in place to protect all of our accounts and systems, and we are taking the necessary steps to protect and secure our network.

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.

IT services on the Parliamentary Estate are working normally.

We will continue to keep Members of both Houses of Parliament and the public updated as the situation develops.”

 

Information about Brexit process and negotiations

The UK lawyer and journalist David Allen Green has a series of tweets in which he offers his suggestions for places to look/people to follow for information about Brexit.  It’s presented here ‘without comment’

tweet

@davidallengreen tweets at
https://twitter.com/davidallengreen/status/876681957991751680


1.  So – which accounts should you follow so as to follow the thrills and spills of the Brexit negotiations?

2. Having followed Brexit for a year, there is a broad hierarchy of sources of useful reliable information.

Without snark, as follows.

3. The most reliable information on Brexit will come from the EU institutions.

Unfortunate for UK, but sadly true.

4. This is the page of the EU negotiation team:

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/brexit-negotiations_en#latest

5. The official EU commission account is @EU_Commission. But @MichelBarnier and (especially) @WeyandSabine are the ones to follow.

6. The latter is the EU’s deputy chief negotiator, and her RTs. tweets and likes are interesting and indicative.

7. Most of the EU key documents will be posted speedily and will be available in plain sight.

8. After the EU, the best sources are certain journalists. (You will see UK government will be further down this list, at number

9. In particular, peerless @alexebarker. If did not write for FT, I would subscribe for his stuff on Brexit. Also @ftbrussels generally.

10. Some other excellent journalists to follow on Brexit:

@JeremyCliffe
@mattholehouse
@JenniferMerode
@pmdfoster
@BrunoBrussels

11. (Apologies to those missed off, but I will RT their good stuff as well. Some outstanding Brexit journalism out there.)

12. The third best source for information on Brexit is, oddly, the UK parliament (not the government).

13. House of Commons library @commonslibrary has produced outstandingly thorough briefings on EU issues (pity MPs don’t read them enough)

14. And various Commons and Lords committees have also provided outstanding reports. Both @CommonsEUexit and @LordsEUCom should be followed.

15. With parliamentary reports, the detailed oral and written evidence is also posted and always worth looking at, not just the reports.

16. The fourth best source for reliable Brexit information are various thinktanks: @CER_EU @Bruegel_org @instituteforgov are must-follows.

17. And fifth and last, comes the UK government, which is woeful on providing reliable Brexit information. But for completeness, @DExEUgov.

18. For commentary rather than than information, I am sure you all have your preferred sources. But this thread not about commentary.

/ends

Anniversary of the death of Jo Cox

From Parliamentary website:

One year on from the tragic death of Jo Cox, the Member for Batley and Spen, the Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt. Hon. John Bercow MP, has issued the following message of remembrance:

Jo Cox was taken from us cruelly last year. As she made her way to a constituency meeting in Batley and Spen, West Yorkshire – the place where she was born and which she served as a fantastic Member of Parliament – her life was tragically cut short.

One year on, it is with great sadness – but with warm memories – that I send my deepest condolences to her husband, Brendan, and their two children, Lejla and Cuillin – as well as to her family and friends. The pain that they have had to endure is unimaginable and my thoughts are with them all.

Jo spent her life serving and campaigning to bring people together through her charity work and her work as a Member of Parliament. As she so poignantly described in her maiden speech: ‘We are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us.’ Her warmth, generosity and compassion will be a lasting legacy.

I didn’t know Jo until she was elected and therefore I was privileged to know her for just one year. But in the year that I did know her, I saw and heard her a great deal. She made a huge impact on me and my strong sense is that she made a huge impact on everyone around us. She came into politics for all the rights reasons and was doing a magnificent job.

It is most fitting her inclusive nature has inspired The Great Get Together, which will take place this weekend. In her memory, thousands of people will host or attend street parties and celebrations of that life, celebrations that will boost community spirit.

Jo’s killing was an attack on democracy which shook the world. It was an act of terror, designed not only to strike an individual but to undermine our freedom.

In her honour, in Jo’s honour, and as we begin this new Parliament, it is incumbent upon us all to rededicate ourselves to our democracy, and stand together in the face of those who seek to destroy it.

The Great Get Together

In honour of Jo’s belief that ‘we have we have far more in common than that which divides us’, the Jo Cox Foundation is organising The Great Get Together on the weekend of 16-18 June across the UK.

Can’t get into your Banner account?

It’s OK, it’s not you.

Banner has temporarily disabled all of the bespoke stationery accounts whilst they update their records following the General Election.  They’re working on it at the moment, but are not yet able to say when they will be re-enabled.

The general accounts are still accessible.

Advice and Support from Customer Services

For those of you who are new to working for a Member of Parliament, or who are continuing to work for your newly re-elected Member, you might like to know that Chris Sear, Head of Customer Services for the Customer Team, is very happy to discuss any issues you might have.

Chris can be contacted by email at searcm@parliament.uk.

You might also like to know that two events for Members’ staff are planned and more will be set up shortly. There is an event in Westminster – in the Attlee Suite in portcullis House – on 7 July and in Scotland (location to be confirmed) on 11 July. The programmes are varied and will cover a number of different services that will help you with your work, and are a great opportunity to meet House staff and each other. If you are interested in attending these please let the Customer Team  know. We will post full details on w4mp as soon as we have them.

New MP? Make sure you register with the Information Commissioner.

Congratulations on being elected/re-elected to Parliament!

One of the most important things you must do right away is to register with the Information Commissioner.  It’s really easy to do, by going to their website here: https://ico.org.uk/registration/new and select ‘Elected representative’ from the drop-down list.  It will cost you £35 to register.

You can find lots of useful information about your rights and obligations under the Data Protection Act on the intranet here: https://intranet.parliament.uk/information-management/data-protection-security/data-protection/