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Suspected Chinese cyber attack targets UK military personnel

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China is suspected of hacking a UK Ministry of Defence contractor’s IT system, British media reported on Tuesday (May 7). The personal details of UK military personnel were targeted in the cyber attack, Financial Times reported. 

Sky News reported that the hack did not affect UK Ministry of Defence’s central network but the hacker is understood to be the Chinese state. 

Britain defence personnel hack: What happened?

The hack reportedly affected an IT system containing the names and bank details of all serving regular military personnel and reservists, as well as several thousand veterans.

According to the Financial Times, an initial investigation by the Ministry of Defence found no evidence that any information has been removed from the hacked IT system. 

What next?

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s administration has called in the country’s private security specialists to assist with the defence ministry’s investigation into the hack. An external contractor has been roped in to monitor the internet to check if any information from the hacked source has been leaked online.

Earlier, the UK government had publicly blamed China for two cyber campaigns that targeted Britain’s elections watchdog as well as parliamentarians. 

The National Cyber Security Centre, a branch of signals intelligence agency UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), assessed that a China state-affiliated cyber entity was “highly likely” to have been responsible for an attack on the Electoral Commission between 2021 and 2022, Britain Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden told the House of Commons last month.

Also watch | Gravitas | Did China hack into Indian government offices?

UK Foreign secretary David Cameron had said it was “completely unacceptable that China state-affiliated organisations and individuals have targeted our democratic institutions and political processes”.

The Chinese embassy in London had said back then: “The so-called cyber attacks by China against the UK are completely fabricated and malicious slanders. We strongly oppose such accusations.”

(With inputs from agencies)

Mukul Sharma

Mukul Sharma is a New Delhi-based multimedia journalist covering geopolitical developments in and beyond the Indian subcontinent. Deeply interested in the affairs

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