London, Mar 27: The IT system in the British Parliament has become infected with the Conficker computer virus, The Telegraph reports.
The worm virus, which has affected more than 15 million computers around the world, has become established on computers used by MPs, Lords and parliamentary staff.
Known variously as Conficker, Downadup, and Kido, it buries itself deep inside a PC's Windows operating system, from where it can be used by hackers to steal users' passwords and personal information.
Although it is not clear when or how the machines became infected, there were claims last night that parliament had failed to follow standard online security procedures.
"This incident clearly shows, once again, that when it comes to even the most basic of security procedures, parliament is lagging behind everyone else," the paper quoted Rob Cotton, of IT security company NCC Group as telling Channel 4.
He added: "Unauthorised machines shouldn't even be capable of coming anywhere near an official network like this, particularly one which could provide a doorway to seriously sensitive material. Even worse, this particular virus is one that has been around since November last year, and security updates and patches have previously been issued to deal with it."
A spokesman for the Houses of Parliament declined to comment.