herald

Friday 21 September 2018

TD targeted by sex site hackers warns of risks

A FIANNA Fail TD tipped as a future taoiseach has said hackers who used his Facebook page to promote a "MILF of the Day" site underlined the dangers of the internet.

Opposition finance spokes-man and Cork TD Michael McGrath (37) had to close his Facebook account after an image went viral of him purportedly liking a site that offered images of "Sexy Mums Across the World".

Mr McGrath said he is now investigating the source of the hacking, but has not yet made a formal complaint to either gardai or internet watchdogs over the hijacking of an image of his internet site.

VULNERABLE

"I think this whole thing underlines just how vulnerable you are on the internet," he said.

"I found out about this on Saturday when friends rang me to say what they had seen online.

"I wasn't taking any chances, so I immediately deactivated my Facebook account.

"As far as I know, the image in circulation was a screenshot of my page.

"But I just don't know. I am now trying to find out where that image came from and who put it in circulation."

Mr McGrath said he has a sense of humour, but the incident went "substantially beyond the bounds of what is acceptable".

"I have no plans to reactivate my Facebook account until I find out exactly how this happened and who is responsible," he said.

"With 3,500 Facebook friends looking over my shoulder, do you think in my right mind I would be so stupid to like such a page?"

The married father of five said the incident was embarrassing, but that his friends and colleagues had been very supportive.

"I know some people might think it is funny, but the danger is, what's next?" he said.

"Is there someone out there who wants to damage you and is willing to do this kind of thing or maybe something worse?"

STARS

Mr McGrath, who was elected a TD in Cork South Central in 2007, is recognised as one of the rising stars within Fianna Fail.

A chartered accountant by profession, he was the only Fianna Fail TD to win a second seat in any constituency in the last general election, in 2011.

Unlike many other opposition and government TDs, Mr McGrath does not use Twitter. He said he operates a Facebook page largely to keep in touch with his constituents.

Mr McGrath is not the first politician to have their social network pages targeted by hackers.

Fine Gael Euro MP Jim Higgins said his Twitter account was hacked after a tweet was sent in June saying that the Anglo Irish Bank could "f**k off".

hnews@herald.ie

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