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MoD Breach: UK Armed Forces’ Personal Data Hacked

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Close-up of a sign for the Ministry of Defence, a department of the UK Government in Whitehall, London.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has fallen victim to a major data breach, resulting in the compromise of personal information belonging to UK military personnel. The breach targeted a third-party payroll system utilised by the MoD.

The said system contains sensitive details such as names and bank information of both current and former members of the armed forces. While the exact scope of the breach is still being determined, initial investigations suggest that only a minimal number of addresses may have been accessed.

Responding to the breach, the MoD took immediate action by disconnecting the affected external network, which was operated by a contracted party. Although there is currently no evidence indicating that data was removed, the department remains vigilant in assessing the situation. Members of Parliament are set to address the matter in the House of Commons, and Defence Secretary Grant Shapps is expected to provide further details later today.

In a statement on Tuesday morning, the MoD said: “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.”

While the government refrains from explicitly naming the perpetrators, China is being strongly implicated. This suspicion is rooted in China’s previous track record of engaging in cyber attack activities targeting similar datasets. In the past, the UK government publicly accused China of being behind an August 2021 hack targeting the details of millions of voters held by the Electoral Commission.

China, on the other hand, has vehemently denied involvement in any cyber attacks and has reiterated its stance against such activities. While investigations are ongoing, affected service personnel will receive notifications and specialised guidance to reduce potential risks.

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