By a Newsnet reporter
Email accounts belonging to the pro-independence campaign group Yes Scotland appear to have been exposed to a large scale attack which has been going on for several months, it has emerged.
According to the Sunday Times, sources close to the investigation into the unauthorised access have uncovered evidence that the illegal activity is far worse than initially thought with thousands of emails being vulnerable.

Investigators now believe that the pro-independence group may have been the victim of a large scale operation which continued right up until last Wednesday evening.  A full security sweep of the Yes Scotland headquarters, which includes hunting for listening devices, is being carried out.

The breach came to light after a journalist, who had contacted the pro-independence team with an enquiry, inadvertently revealed information that could only have come from a Yes Scotland email.

An investigation by telecoms firm BT uncovered evidence that an email account had been illegally accessed from a source not connected to the campaign.  Further investigations revealed the group had been the victim of several such attacks.

Fears have been expressed that confidential information surrounding the Yes Scotland campaign may have fallen into the hands of those opposed to independence.  The incident has led to attacks on Yes Scotland and its head Blair Jenkins by anti-independence rivals Better Together after information gleaned from an email account became public.

Better Together campaign director Blair McDougall claimed an article written by academic Dr Elliott Bulmer, for which Yes Scotland had paid £100, was an attempt at deceit after the article was published by the Herald newspaper with no mention that it had come from Yes Scotland.

However it later emerged that the newspaper had been fully aware that Yes Scotland had commissioned the piece and that the academic had requested a small payment, although the Herald later insisted that it had not been aware that Yes Scotland had paid £100.

Speaking to the Sunday Times, a source close to the investigation said: “It looks like this person could have been lurking in the background for several months,” the source added, “We have reason to believe it was not isolated to the Bulmer email and that other emails must have been accessed, possibly hundreds if not thousands,”

Members of the Police Scotland Digital Forensic team are continuing to investigate the incident which resulted in Yes Scotland’s online activities being grounded for a day last week.

The attack has been labelled “an attack on democracy” by Yes Scotland’s campaign chief Blair Jenkins.

In a statement, a spokesman for Yes Scotland said he feared others were also vulnerable:

“This is not just about the independence campaign or Yes Scotland.  It’s a threat to the democratic process.  If people can hack Yes Scotland then what’s to stop them hacking other places too?”


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