Times journalist disciplined for computer hacking

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
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The TimesA public inquiry into the practices and ethics of the British media, following the News of the World “phone hacking” scandal, has heard that a journalist for The Times hacked into computers.

According to written evidence given by Simon Toms, News International’s interim director of legal affairs, the unnamed journalist was disciplined in 2009 for involvement in computer hacking.

However, Toms was keen to underline to the Leveson Inquiry that the journalist’s hacking exploits (which were not detailed) had not been authorised by the paper’s management.

Evidence submitted by Simon Toms to the Leveson Inquiry

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"I have been made aware of one instance on The Times in 2009 which I understand may have involved a journalist attempting to access information in this way."

"However, I also understand that this was an act of the journalist and was not authorised by TNL. As such, I understand it resulted in the journalist concerned being disciplined."

It would certainly be interesting to hear what type of computer hacking occurred, and who the target was, but – at the moment at least – News International and The Times aren’t saying.

In recent months, allegations have been made that newspaper journalists (or private investigators working for them) hacked into computers belonging to police chiefs, government ministers and former army intelligence officers.

Last summer, Scotland Yard announced Operation Tuleta, investigating allegations that malware was used to break into computers and gather information that could be used in newspaper articles.


Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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