British parliament's email system hit by cyber attack

(USA TODAY) -- Hackers have targeted the email system of the British parliament in an apparent attempt to break into the accounts of hundreds of members of parliament, Lords and their staffs, the British media reported Saturday.

The attack prompted security services to shut down access to anyone outside the Palace of Westminster, where the two houses of Parliament meet.

A parliamentary spokesperson told The Independent that "unauthorized attempts" were made to gain access to email account.

Members of the House of Commons and Lords were informed of the cyber attack Friday night and said they were unable to gain access to their emails on Saturday, The Telegraph reported.

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Rennard confirmed the attack on Twitter.

The Independent said the attack comes days after reports that Russian hackers had put passwords belonging to senior ministers, ambassadors and senior police officers up for sale online.

The Westminster spokesperson said parliament was working with the National Cyber Security Centre to secure the computer network and investigate the incident.

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