China Accused Of Hacking Data Of Thousands Of British Soldiers

( – Chinese hackers broke into databases and accessed data in England about thousands of British service members, from soldiers and sailors to Air Force members.

A new report on Monday, May 6th, revealed that data for as many as 272,000 people was exposed in the breach and that they were all British veterans and active service members. British officials said hackers broke into a UK Ministry of Defense payroll system operated by a third-party organization and gained access to banking information and some home addresses.

Initial media reports named China as the likely culprit. Still, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak only confirmed that a “malign actor” hacked into the system and did not specify anything further, although he did address China.

Sunak said that his administration “set out a very robust policy towards China” and that the British government must use those powers “to protect ourselves against the risk” China and other foreign nations could pose. He said that, ultimately, China is a country with values “fundamentally different” to British values, and that they act “in a way that is more authoritarian and assertive abroad.”

UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapps addressed the hacking in a briefing on Tuesday, May 7th, and said the involvement of another state couldn’t be ruled out. He would not give any more information about who is suspected to be behind the operation due to “reasons of national security.” Shapps added that the system was taken offline immediately after the uncovered hack.

London’s Chinese Embassy responded to the incident and the accusations of Chinese involvement by dismissing the accusations as false. The embassy called the accusations by the UK government “fabricated and malicious slander” that is “extremely absurd and despicable.” The embassy said China has long followed the law and fought against cyberattacks, and that the embassy “firmly” opposed “groundless accusations” against the nation done “out of political motives.”

The Chinese Embassy told the UK government to “stop spreading disinformation,” calling the incident a “self-staged” political farce.

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