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Great Britain. Who is behind the cyber attack on the Ministry of Defense? Minister Grant Shapps does not mention China by name

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Grant Shapps, the British Defense Secretary, said that a “hostile actor” was behind the hack into the Defense Ministry's payroll system. He did not point directly at China, although according to the British media it was responsible for the cyberattack. Schapps said that the attack may have stolen personal data of 272,000 current and former members of the armed forces.

On Tuesday morning, the British media reported that there was a cyber attack on the ministry's salary payment system, which may have resulted in the theft of personal data – mainly names and bank account numbers, but in some cases also addresses – of currently serving soldiers and some veterans. Sky News reported that China was suspected of carrying out the attack.

READ ALSO: Sky News: Cyber ​​attack on the British Ministry of Defense. China is behind it

Making a statement in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Shapps confirmed that the attack had targeted external company SSCL, which runs the ministry's payroll system. A subsidiary of Paris-based technology company Sopra Steria, SSCL is the largest provider of business support services to the UK government, armed forces and London's Metropolitan Police.

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British Defense Minister: “enemy actor” guilty of cyber attack on the ministry's system

Shapps said the cyberattack may have compromised the personal data of 272,000 current and former members of the armed forces, but stressed that the payroll system is an “external system completely separate from the main Ministry of Defense network.” According to the initial investigation, there is no evidence that any data was deleted, but armed forces personnel have been warned as a precaution in connection with the situation.

In his statement, Shapps said “state involvement” could not be ruled out, but did not name a suspect, saying: “For national security reasons, we cannot disclose further details of the suspicious cyber activity behind this incident.” – However, I can confirm to the House that we have indications that it was the action of a hostile actor and we cannot rule out state involvement – he added.

Earlier, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also did not name China as a suspect in the attack, but said Beijing had “fundamentally different values ​​to us” and was “acting abroad in a way that is more authoritarian and assertive.”

Chinese Embassy: We are not behind the attack

In response to information about the cyberattack, the Chinese embassy in London said it strongly opposes suggestions that China is responsible and there is no need to “interfere in Britain's internal affairs.” “We call on relevant parties in the UK to stop spreading false information, stop creating so-called China threat narratives and stop the anti-China political farce,” an embassy spokesman said.

In March, Britain officially accused Chinese hackers and a Chinese company of being behind two high-profile attacks in recent years that targeted members of parliament critical of China and the British Electoral Commission.

Main photo source: PAP/EPA/NEIL HALL

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