UK Foreign Secretary’s private phone number 'available online for over a decade' after warning world of cyberattacks

UK Foreign Secretary’s private phone number 'available online for over a decade' after warning world of cyberattacks
Just hours after a foreign affairs committee discussed the threat posed by cyberattacks to the UK, reports revealed that UK Foreign Secretary’s private phone number was available online for over a decade.
2 min read
30 June, 2021
The UK Foreign Secretary recently said that cyberattacks 'undermine our way of life' [Getty}

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab’s private phone number has been available online for over a decade, a report revealed on Tuesday

Raab’s phone number was found by a journalist from The Guardian using Google and had been online for at least 11 years, making the UK foreign secretary vulnerable to digital attacks from criminal gangs. 

The number has since been removed from the website and the Foreign Office insisted "no security was compromised". 

The embarrassing incident will prompt uncomfortable questions for the UK security services. A few weeks ago reports revealed that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s phone number was available online for the past 15 years, according to The Guardian.

The incident occurred just hours after the foreign affairs committee conducted a debate into the role tech can play in the future of UK foreign policy and how the country should defend itself against cyberattacks.  

Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy called for an investigation into "[this] staggering lapse in security from a foreign secretary". 

“It is typical of the government’s approach that when it comes to national security and defending democracy they say one thing but do another,” added Nandy. 

Earlier this month, Raab said cyberattacks "undermine our way of life" in a statement ahead of talks with NATO allies

The foreign secretary said the UK must "rise to the challenge" and adapt to "new threats" such as cybercrime. 

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "Private information was wrongly retained online. Once we were made aware, we had it removed immediately." 

Former UK National Security Adviser Peter Ricketts warned that  "the wide availability of Mr Raab’s personal phone number must increase the risk that other states, or even criminal gangs, have been able to eavesdrop on his calls". 

"Anyone taking on a role as sensitive as this should in their own interests pay as much attention to online as to physical security," said Ricketts.