World News

MoD data breach: UK armed forces’ personal details accessed in hack

  • By Alex Forsyth
  • Political Correspondent, BBC News

The personal information of an unspecified number of serving British military personnel has been accessed in a major data breach, according to the BBC.

The hack targeted a payroll system used by the Department of Defense, which includes the names and banking details of current and former members of the armed forces.

In a very small number of cases, the data may include personal addresses.

It is unclear who is behind the hack or what the data may be used for.

The data, described as ‘HMRC personal information’, relates to current and former members of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force over a period of years.

The system was managed by an external service provider and no operational data from the Ministry of Defense was obtained.

It is understood that the Ministry of Defense has taken immediate action and the system has been taken offline, while investigations are ongoing.

The Ministry of Defense is informing and providing support and advice to those affected, including raising awareness among veterans’ organizations of what happened.

Defense Secretary Grant Shapps is due to brief MPs on the Commons hack on Tuesday.

It is expected to develop a “multi-point plan” in response, which will include measures to protect affected service members.

Although it has not been revealed who is behind the hack, it comes amid growing warnings about the cybersecurity threats the UK faces from hostile states and third parties.

Last year, the government released an updated version of its long-term defense strategy, which noted that the use of “commercial spyware, ransomware and offensive cyber capabilities by state and non-state actors had proliferated.

Public institutions and private companies have also been targeted by hackers demanding ransoms.

The Metropolitan Police said they were not involved in any investigations at this stage.

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