Politics

Second UK Lawmaker Targeted in ‘Honeytrap’ Sexting Phishing Scam

LONDON (AP) – A second British lawmaker has acknowledged receiving explicit messages on his phone in what police are investigating as a malicious phishing attempt against politicians, their staff and journalists.

Conservative legislator Luke Evans said he had been a victim of “cyber flashing and malicious communications” a month ago, when an unknown individual sent him “an explicit image of a naked lady.”

Evans said in a video message Friday that he’d immediately reported the incident to police and parliamentary authorities.

Another Conservative MP, William Wragg, revealed on Thursday that he had disclosed some colleagues’ phone numbers to an unknown individual who contacted him on a gay dating app.

Wragg said he’d exchanged messages with the individual, who called himself Charlie, and had sent an explicit photo of himself. Wragg told The Times of London that he was “scared” and “manipulated” into giving his colleagues’ numbers to the unknown individual he had met on Grindr.

News website Politico was the first to report that several current and former parliamentarians, staffers and political journalists had been contacted by an unknown number on WhatsApp. The sender claimed to be “Charlie” or “Abi” and tried to strike up flirtatious conversations.

The honeytrap sexting scam has been described as “spear phishing,” a type of cyberattack that targets specific groups. It involves scammers pretending to be trusted senders in order to steal personal or sensitive information.

Politico said some of those targeted were sent naked images, with at least two reported to have responded by sending images of themselves.

The Leicestershire Police force in central England – where Evans has his constituency – and London´s Metropolitan Police both say they are investigating reports of malicious communications.

British intelligence agencies have warned of attempts by hackers linked to foreign states, especially China, to target politicians with cyberattacks.

Police have not said who they think was behind the messages.

“We are working closely with other forces and are in contact with colleagues in Parliamentary Security, who are providing support and advice around anyone affected,” the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

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