Experts Reacted on UK PM’s Phone Number in the Public Domain for the Past Decade

BACKGROUND

The Prime Minister’s personal mobile phone number has in the public domain for the past decade and a half. The discovery of Boris Johnson’s mobile phone number on a press release from 2006 has been identified as a huge security oversight by many. But is the fact that Boris didn’t change his phone number surprising.

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Nikhil Shoorji
Nikhil Shoorji , Managing Director Europe
InfoSec Expert
April 30, 2021 1:07 pm

<p>The revelation that the Prime Minister\’s phone number has been freely available in the public domain for 15 years may seem shocking. But when you realise just how reluctant Brits are to change their number, it’s maybe less so.</p> <p> </p> <p>Research from <a href=\"https://www.infobip.com/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\" data-saferedirecturl=\"https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.infobip.com/&source=gmail&ust=1619874020371000&usg=AFQjCNFRuSkq9EzQ6uwhNM1Db24XA0f_YA\">Infobip</a> revealed that the average person clings to their mobile number for almost ten years. Those aged 55+, like Boris, are particularly tied to their digits, having the same number for 11 years, while 63% aged 55+ have never changed their number. </p> <p> </p> <p>Changing a mobile phone number is perceived as one of the most inconvenient things to manage; Brits aged 35-54 rank changing their mobile phone number (28%) as more inconvenient than changing their own surname (26%).</p> <p>  </p> <p>Boris\’s transgression is a major national security issue and a reminder that, although we love our mobile phones and our numbers, these are powerful communication tools that should be wielded carefully.</p>

Last edited 1 year ago by Nikhil Shoorji
Ilia Kolochenko
Ilia Kolochenko , Founder and CEO
InfoSec Expert
April 30, 2021 2:05 pm

<p>First, it may be a well-orchestrated honeypot: a mobile phone that is indeed handled by Boris Johnson (or his assistant) but never used for confidential governmental communications. National security agencies in the UK may collect a great wealth of valuable threat intelligence from such a device to better understand who enemies are in the digital space and their technical capabilities. Second, nation-state actors, have countless opportunities to obtain phone numbers of governmental officials from other sources, notably from third parties in supply chain attacks. Therefore, I see no major risks or dramatic problems related to this loudly advertised incident. This incident will, however, likely trigger the UK\’s <a href=\"https://ico.org.uk/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\" data-saferedirecturl=\"https://www.google.com/url?q=https://ico.org.uk/&source=gmail&ust=1619874013494000&usg=AFQjCNFDgL2pEULiN5YyKzu83c3LN4yWjw\">ICO</a>’s scrutiny to go after websites that share the personal data of individuals without their consent.</p>

Last edited 1 year ago by Ilia Kolochenko
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