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Government plays dumb over fake James Bond spy advert

27 Nov 2012
House of Parliament

The government has refused to explain how a fake job advert came to be posted on its job site on the webpage with different departments refusing to take responsibility.

On Friday a fake ad from the ‘Secret Intelligence Service' looking for a ‘target elimination specialist' appeared on the site, claiming the role would "involve international travel to a number of countries where individuals need to be removed", alongside other nods to James Bond.

"The job holder will receive all necessary equipment, including passports, special watches, jet packs, mini-submarines and a Walther PPK. This role is particularly appropriate for those who like their martinis shaken and not stirred," it said.

The page has since been taken down but the government has so far remained coy on the cause of the defacement.

The Department for Work & Pensions appeared to suggest someone with legitmate access to the site placed the advert, but offered no insight beyond this.

"It is disappointing that somebody would want to post a false advert when people are looking for real jobs," it said.

"It has now been removed."

V3 repeatedly asked for more information on who would have the ability to post a false advert and how it passed through any vetting processes to go live, but had received no information at time of publication.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet Office moved to distance itself from the incident, claiming that the Gov.UK website, which it oversees through the Government Digital Service (GDS), was not directly involved.

"Last week a spoof advert was placed on a DWP jobsite," a spokesperson told V3.

"While you can access that site via Gov.UK, when you do so you leave the Gov.UK site. It is, therefore, entirely wrong to suggest that Gov.UK has been compromised."

Both statements fail to address the underlying incident regarding who placed the fake advert and how it went live.

This opens up questions about how secure the systems in place around the government's IT systems are, whether accessed externally by hackers or by in-house pranksters.

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Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

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