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Is China behind it? – Firstpost | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker


Around 2,000 people are thought to have been impacted by the hack. Representational image. Pixabay

The UK’s ministry of defence has been hacked – and China is suspected to be behind it.

According to several media reports, the details of thousands of British soldiers and veterans have been compromised.

The development comes just a day after Chinese president Xi Jinping began a five-day tour of Europe his first since 2019.

But what happened exactly? And did China really hack the UK’s ministry of defence?

Let’s take a closer look:

According to The Sun, the hack was uncovered sometime over the past three days.

Sky News reported at least two or three tries were made at hacking.

A payroll system which contains the names of employees and veterans was the target.

Their names and bank details have been exposed.

However, The Telegraph reported that addresses have also been revealed.

Around 2,000 people are thought to have been impacted.

The UK government is not expected to name the country behind the hacking.

Sky News reported that the system that has been compromised is not linked with the MoD main computer system.

The system has since been taken offline and a probe has been launched.

The personnel will be given guidance by the MoD.

According to The Telegraph, information of special forces personnel are thought to be safe as those are on a separate system.

While the MoD will make all salary payments, some expense settlements may be held up.

The Sun reported that defence officials, spies from GCHQ, the National Cyber Security Centre and the offensive Cyber Force and civilian contractors are working on this together.

The MoD is also hiring personnel to check if the data is being sold or put up on the dark web.

‘Eyes are widen open’

The Guardian reported that defence secretary Grant Shapps is likely to make a statement on Tuesday afternoon.

Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood, a former soldier, told Sky News China “was probably looking at the financially vulnerable with a view that they may be coerced in exchange for cash.”

Government minister Mel Stride told Sky News on Tuesday that China is “an epoch-defining challenge” and “our eyes are wide open.”

Stride was quoting from the 2021 Integrated Review of the UK’s national security and international policy.

Stride did not name China but said the UK ought to “get the balance right” regarding Beijing.

“By balance, I mean protecting our security. At the same time, I recognise and, of course, China is a very important economic player globally and, of course, big global challenges like climate change need to have China at the table, if we are to resolve those as well,” Stride was quoted as saying.

The Guardian quoted shadow defence secretary John Healey as saying: “So many serious questions for the defence secretary on this, especially from forces personnel whose details were targeted.

“Any such hostile action is utterly unacceptable.”

Ex-conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith told Sky News, “This is yet another example of why the UK government must admit that China poses a systemic threat to the UK and change the integrated review to reflect that.

“No more pretence. It is a malign actor, supporting Russia with money and military equipment, working with Iran and North Korea in a new axis of totalitarian states.”

According to The Independent, deputy prime minister Oliver Dowden in March told the House of Commons the UK had sanctioned two individuals and a company linked to China for attacking the Electoral Commission.

The same firm did “reconnaissance” activity against UK parliamentary accounts in 2021, Dowden added.

Dowden said two people and a company associated with the cybergroup APT31, linked to the Chinese Ministry of State Security, were being punished.

The UK and the United States has claimed China  was mounting a global campaign of “malicious” cyberattacks.

A spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in London in March pushed back saying the “so-called cyberattacks by China against the UK are completely fabricated and malicious slanders.”

With inputs from agencies

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