UK Armed Forces Data Breach: Chinese Hackers Expose Payroll Records

UK Armed Forces Data Breach Chinese Hackers Expose Payroll Records
credit: theguardian

London (Parliament News) – Chinese hackers accessed approximately 270,000 payroll records of UK armed forces personnel through a third-party contractor, raising concerns about data security. The Defence Secretary is expected to address the issue.

Approximately 270,000 payroll records belonging to almost all members of Britain’s armed forces have been exposed to Chinese hackers in a violation at a third-party contractor that was uncovered a few days ago.

What Data Was Compromised in the UK Military Breach?

The data at risk contains names and bank particulars and, in a few thousand instances, addresses and federal insurance numbers of current and recently vacated members of the army, navy and air force and reservists, government sources revealed. There is no direct evidence that any data has been swiped or interfered with, but inquiries are continuing. Personnel are anticipated to be offered credit checks so people can observe if their bank details have been utilised without permission.

What Actions Are Being Taken to Address the Breach?

Grant Shapps, the UK defence secretary, is anticipated to brief MPs on Tuesday afternoon on the situation and the actions being taken by the MoD to deal with the problem. Hackers are thought to have been present in the procedure for some time, possibly weeks.

An announcement had been scheduled on Tuesday, but details leaked overnight to the media before personnel were reported, military sources said. Once the hack was uncovered, the system was promptly taken offline. Shapps is not anticipated to formally attribute the episode to China, but it is understood the hackers were from there. It is the most delinquent in a growing number of data breaches linked to Beijing.

The Electoral Commission was felled by Chinese actors in August 2021 and in March ministers held China responsible. The attackers acquired access to copies of the electoral registers and broke into its emails and control systems.

Rishi Sunak, the prime minister, declared China was “behaving in an increasingly assertive way abroad” and was “the greatest state-based danger to our economic security”. Parliamentarians critical of Beijing were also targeted, the government stated.

The SAS and other special forces are comprehended to be paid separately, and so not affected. Some of the 270,000 documents that were affected by the breach are understood to be copies, so the actual number of people concerned is likely to turn out to be lower.

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson stated: “The defence secretary will make a planned statement to the House of Commons this afternoon setting out the multi-point plan to support and protect personnel.”

How Is the Chinese Government Responding to Accusations?

A spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry expressed Beijing opposed and fought all forms of cyber-attack and denied using the issue for political ends to smudge other countries.

A spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in London contended: “China has always upheld the principle of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs. China has neither the interest nor the need to meddle in the internal affairs of the UK.

“We urge the appropriate parties in the UK to stop spreading false information, stop manufacturing so-called China threat narratives, and stop their anti-China political farce.”

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.