Cyberattack hit UK defence ministry targeting armed forces’ personnel data

Cyberattack hit UK defence ministry targeting armed forces' personnel data

NEW DELHI: The UK’s ministry of defence has been hit by cyberattack, affecting the personal information and bank details of armed forces personnel, as confirmed by work and pensions minister Mel Stride on Tuesday.
The attack targeted a system operated by a third-party company, highlighting the severity of the incident.
According to former minister Tobias Ellwood, the attack targeted a payroll system used by the defence ministry and alleged that it exhibited characteristics of a Chinese cyberattack.”Targeting the names of the payroll system and service personnel’s bank details, this does point to China because it can be as part of a plan, a strategy to see who might be coerced,” said Ellwood, an ex-soldier and former chairman of a parliamentary defence committee on BBC radio.
The personal addresses of current and former armed forces members are believed to have been exposed in some instances due to the breach.
Stride assured that the affected database had been swiftly removed from the internet by the defence ministry, according to statement given to Sky News. However, the government has not directly accused Beijing of being responsible for the attack at this time. “That is an assumption…. we are not saying that at this precise moment,” Stride clarified.
In March, the UK government accused China of targeting the Electoral Commission and lawmakers’ email accounts. The Electoral Commission attack, discovered in October 2022, allowed hackers to access the commission’s systems for over a year before detection. China strongly denied the allegations, calling them “malicious slander”.
Mandiant, a Google subsidiary, reported in June of the previous year that online attackers with clear ties to China were responsible for a widespread cyberespionage campaign targeting government agencies of interest to Beijing. The United States has also frequently accused China of conducting cyberattacks against American targets.
Two British men, including a former UK parliamentary researcher, recently appeared in a London court, facing charges of spying for China. Later on Tuesday, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps is expected to provide further details about the Ministry of Defence data breach to parliament.
(With AFP inputs)

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