Dutch parliament pressing election safety, cyber defense issues

With the parliamentary elections coming up in March, and warnings from American security experts that the Netherlands may be targeted by Russian hackers, Dutch parliament is focused on fixing cyber defense issues and increasing cyber security.

This week the national cyber security center held a meeting for the political parties' IT employees, according to newspaper Trouw. At this meeting the employees received advice on how to prevent hackers getting into computer systems and other forms of data breaches. 

On Thursday Khadija Arib, president of the lower house of Dutch parliament, also announced that she is calling in a team of experts to help parliamentarians secure their social media accounts. This happened after RTL Nieuws hacked into the Twitter account of SGP leader Kees vand er Staaij, the LinkedIn account of CDA parliamentarian Pieter Omtzigt and the Facebook accounts of several unnamed parliamentarians. They did so using passwords that previously leaked from a number of websites.

PvdA parliamentarian Astrid Oosenbrug is happy with this development, she said to Trouw. Coming from an IT background herself, she's long been advocating for greater safety awareness. "Who is responsible if the Twitter account of a MP is hacked? The government, parliament, or the person himself? It is good that people are getting a wake up call." 

Oosenbrug calls on all political parties to take cyber safety precautions. "Up until now the focus has been mostly on securing people at the top. People below thought they would not become victims because they do not possess important information. Now it is penetrating that through the computer of a faction employee, the whole party can be penetrated."


Related stories