Cybersecurity at Buckingham Palace: Queen at ‘high risk’ of attack by hackers

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Security experts told the monarch the threat has increased from medium in the past year, with lone-wolf hackers also a danger to the institution’s good name.

Sir Michael Stevens, the Keeper of the Privy Purse, said potential risks were: “Reputational damage, penalties and/or legal action against the Household or members of staff.”

Writing in the annual Sovereign Grant report, he added: “The increase in risk is a reflection of the external threat landscape.”

Sir Michael explained that the amount of sensitive information on royal systems had been reduced, cyber defences improved and staff were regularly conducting online incident exercises.

The Queen, 95, has kept in touch with family and the public via video calls during the pandemic, impressing with her tech skills and relaxed manner on screen.

She has tended to use Cisco’s WebEx system rather than Zoom or Microsoft Teams for official duties on the grounds that it is believed to be a more secure system.

In March, she appointed cyber expert Elliott Atkins, former head of the Government’s computer emergency response team, as chief information security officer in the Royal Household. And the head of the household, the Lord Chamberlain, Lord Parker of Minsmere, could not be better qualified to advise the Queen on security. He was director-general of MI5 until last year.

The Queen took a break from screens over the weekend to visit her beloved horses.

She was spotted driving a Range Rover around Wood Farm and Commodore Yard Stables at her Sandringham Estate accompanied by her bloodstock and racing adviser John Warren. The monarch made the surprise visit after flying into Norfolk by helicopter on Friday and is expected to leave today.

Sir Michael also warned the £369billion renovation of Buckingham Palace and a new roof for Windsor Castle could pose a fire hazard.

His report said: “The risk rating is deemed high despite mitigations in place.”

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