‘X’ is named. Alleged computer hacker at the centre of News of the World scandal

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
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For the first time, the identity of a man at the centre of allegations that computers were hacked on behalf of the disgraced News of the World newspaper has been named.

The Guardian reports that security consultant Philip Campbell Smith is alleged to have used a Trojan horse to hack into a computer belonging to Ian Hurst, a former British army intelligence officer who handled IRA informers in Northern Ireland.

For legal reasons, Smith was previously referred to simply as “X” in Hurst’s recent evidence to the Leveson Inquiry into press standards:

It is claimed that Smith, a former member of the British Army’s Force Research Unit (FRU), was contracted by a firm called Southern Investigations to spy on Hurst’s computer on behalf of the News of the World, who wished to discover the whereabouts of IRA…

Read more in my article on the Naked Security website.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the cybersecurity industry, having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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