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Chinese State-Backed Hackers Suspected in Third Party Breach Impacting UK Armed Forces

By Scott Ikeda for CPO Magazine
Friday, May 10, 2024

A third party breach impacting the Ministry of Defense may have exposed the bank details of as many as 272,000 current and former members of the UK armed forces. A culprit has not yet been named, but some evidence points to Chinese state-backed hackers and Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said that state involvement “cannot be ruled out.”

Dr Ilia Kolochenko, CEO at ImmuniWeb, believes that this may yet turn out to be the work of a purely financially motivated criminal group: “Amid the unprecedented climate of international hostility and political disagreement, military objects and personnel will increasingly be targeted by cyber attacks sponsored or conducted by foreign nation-states. While few technical details are currently available about this specific data breach, it seems unlikely to be a fruit of foreign state interference. Attacks by foreign states usually aim at silently backdooring military networks, getting control over critical OT/ICS systems, or compromising classified military information. Financial and personal data of UK military personnel is a desired target for organized cybercrime groups that run large-scale fraud, scam and blackmailing campaigns over the Internet, being motivated by profits. Having said this, the attackers can, of course, try to re-sell information to more powerful hacking groups, backed by foreign states, to run laser-focused social engineering or extortion schemes against high-ranking officers of the British army. Thus, the risks should not be downplayed and urgent investigation is needed, however, there is no national security threat based on the information currently available.” Read Full Article

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