Hoax caller put through to British PM prompts security review

This article is more than 12 months old

By claiming to be one of the UK spy chiefs, his phonecall was put through to British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Now security procedures are in question.

The caller pretended to be the director of Britain’s electronic spy agency Government Communications Headquarters​ (GCHQ) Robert Hannigan, and was put through to Mr Cameron on an official mobile phone on Sunday (Jan 25).

Mr Cameron ended the call when he realised it to be a hoax.

The conversation was described as "brief" with no sensitive information being disclosed.   

It was followed by a previous hoax call to GCHQ on the same day, in which Mr Hannigan’s mobile phone number was given to the caller.

"Following two hoax calls to government departments today, a notice has gone out to all departments to be on the alert for such calls," said a government spokesman.

"Both GCHQ and Number 10 take security seriously and both are currently reviewing procedures following these hoax calls to ensure that the government learns any lessons from this incident."

Not the first time

Sunday's incident was not the first time prank callers had managed to get through to UK government officials.

In 1998, British radio DJ Steve Penk managed to speak to former UK prime minister Tony Blair by pretending to be then-British Conservative leader William Hague. 

Four years later, Downing Street was plagued by thousands of callers asking to speak to "Tony" after hoax callers overwhelmed Downing Street's switchboard.

Source: Metro, AFP, BBC

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