Is the recent hoax call debacle of UK Prime Minister David Cameron represented a serious lapse in security of Number 10 Downing Street?
By: Ringo Bones
Number 10 Downing Street confirms that the UK Prime Minister ended the call after realizing that that the caller was falsely claiming to be the UK Intelligence Director. Security procedures are being reviewed at Number 10 Downing Street after a hoax caller pretending to be the head of the GCHQ managed to get through to Prime Minister David Cameron on Sunday, January 25, 2015. Cameron spoke to the imposter, who was claiming to be the GCHQ Director Robert Hannigan, but Cameron soon ended the call when he realized that he was being tricked.
According to Number 10, no sensitive information was disclosed during the conversation between the men, which was described as “quite brief”. In a separate incident, a caller rang GCHQ and managed to obtain Director Hannigan’s mobile phone number.
A government spokeswoman said “Following two hoax calls to government departments today, a notice has gone out to all departments to be on alert for such calls.” “In the first instance, a call was made at GCHQ which resulted in a disclosure of a mobile phone number for the director. The mobile phone number provided is never used for calls involving classified information. In the second instance, a hoax caller claiming to be the GCHQ director was connected to the prime minister.” The spokeswoman said incidents of this kind were taken seriously and procedures were being reviewed to see whether any lessons need to be learned.
It is not the first time that the UK Prime Minister David Cameron has been taken in by hoax callers and other hoaxers. In 2013, the prime minister wrote a tweet to an account in the name of the Work and Pensions minister Iain Duncan Smith. The account, however, was a spoof – about which Prime Minister Cameron appeared ignorant.