U.K. Armed Forces’ Data Stolen by State-Linked Hackers, Lawmakers Say

The personal information of British military personnel has been hacked in a significant new data breach likely to have been orchestrated by a state, senior British politicians said on Tuesday.

The cyberattack, which targeted a third-party payroll system used by Britain’s Ministry of Defense, yielded the names and bank details of some serving members of the armed forces and some veterans, they said, as well as a small number of addresses.

The payroll system, which is not connected to the defense ministry’s own internal network, has been taken offline and the government has not publicly blamed anyone for the data breach, or confirmed British media reports pointing a finger at China.

In March Britain accused China of cyberattacks that compromised the voting records of tens of millions of people, and said that the Chinese had attempted unsuccessfully to hack email accounts belonging to several members of Parliament. The deputy prime minister, Oliver Dowden, also announced sanctions against two individuals and one company linked to a state-affiliated group implicated in those attacks.

On Tuesday Mel Stride, a cabinet minister, acknowledged that the latest data breach was significant, adding that the Ministry of Defense took cybersecurity extremely seriously.

“The M.O.D. has acted very swiftly to take this database offline — it’s a third-party database incidentally, not one run directly by the M.O.D. — and of course they are there to advise and provide support to those who may be concerned about the fact that this data has been breached,” he told Sky News, which first reported the cyberattack on Monday night.

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