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‘Malign Actor’: China Accused Of Hacking Data Of Thousands Of British Soldiers

 Chinese   hackers gained access to personal data about thousands of British soldiers, sailors, and air force members,   according   to a ne...

 Chinese hackers gained access to personal data about thousands of British soldiers, sailors, and air force members, according to a new report.

The data breach exposed the bank details of up to 272,000 soldiers and veterans, including some home addresses, through a hack of a third-party payroll system, the Associated Press reported. The British government confirmed on Tuesday that the Ministry of Defense had been hacked by a “malign” actor, but did not specifically name China. However, Sky News reported on Monday that the hacking had been instigated by China.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Tuesday that a “malign actor has compromised the armed forces payment network,” before turning to directly criticizing China.

“I set out a very robust policy towards China, which means that we need to take the powers which we have done to protect ourselves against the risk that China and other countries pose to us,” he said. “They are a country with fundamentally different values to ours that are acting in a way that is more authoritarian and assertive abroad.”

During a briefing on the hack on Tuesday, U.K. Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said that “state involvement” could not be ruled out, but said that he couldn’t reveal more information about who the government suspected to be behind the hack.

“For reasons of national security, we can’t release further details of the suspected cyber activity behind this incident,” he said, adding that once the hack was discovered, the system was immediately taken offline.

Conservative Member of Parliament Tobias Ellwood told Sky News that the hack may have been an effort to compromise soldiers struggling financially. He said China “was probably looking at the financially vulnerable with a view that they may be coerced in exchange for cash.”


The Chinese Embassy in London responded by asserting that any claims of Chinese government involvement are false.

“The said accusation made by the UK side is nothing but a fabricated and malicious slander. It is extremely absurd and despicable. We strongly condemn it,” the embassy said. “China has all along been fighting cyberattacks according to law. We firmly oppose any groundless accusations against China out of political motives. We urge the UK side to stop spreading disinformation, and stop such self-staged political farces.”

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