The UK government is on high alert after a significant breach of the Ministry of Defence’s armed forces payroll system, which is suspected to involve Chinese state hackers.

This breach includes sensitive information such as names, bank details, and potentially personal addresses of service personnel.

While the breach has not been conclusively attributed to China, the pattern of past incidents and expert analysis suggest strong suspicions toward Chinese involvement.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps, addressing Parliament today, is not expected to explicitly name China as the perpetrator. However, he is set to highlight the broader threat of cyber espionage from hostile states, reflecting the complex nature of geopolitical cyber threats.

The payroll system was managed by an external contractor and was compromised recently, with the government discovering the breach only in the past few days. Though there is no evidence that data was removed from the system, officials are treating the situation with utmost seriousness as if data had been stolen, taking swift precautionary measures.

“The MoD has acted very swiftly to take this database offline. It’s a third-party database and certainly not one run directly by the MoD,” Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride told Sky News, underlining the quick response to the security threat.

The investigation into who was behind the data breach is still in its early stages, and it may take months, or even years, to gather enough evidence to make a public accusation. Former chairman of the Commons Defence Committee, Tobias Ellwood, speaking to BBC Radio’s 4 Today programme, stated, “Targeting the names of the payroll system and service personnel’s bank details, this does point to China because it can be as part of a plan, a strategy to see who might be coerced.”

Service members affected by the hack will receive further information from the government about the breach and will be informed that the concerns are more about risks of fraud rather than personal safety.

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_816552)
21 days ago

The payroll system was managed by an external contractor”

And WHO, was responsible for that? And WHY was it privatised?

xiufen gu
xiufen gu (@guest_816565)
21 days ago

It is common practice in the UK for large organizations to have their payroll managed by a third pary. It is normaly efficient and cost effective.

Pete (@guest_816553)
21 days ago

A lot of money now made by expanding the after dinner speaking market for MP,s

terence patrick hewett
terence patrick hewett (@guest_816555)
21 days ago
Reply to  Pete

I have seen 2 politicians speak: Enoch Powell on economics and Nigel Farage on Brexit. Powell was mesmerising, Nigel Farage was entertaining: both were worth the money and effort. But I wouldn’t pay tuppence for anyone else.

pete (@guest_816634)
21 days ago

David Cameron was earning 120 k per hour after dinner speaking lol

Jim (@guest_816554)
21 days ago

This shows just how low end and amateur chinas cyber capabilities are, if you’re going to hack someone make sure you hack something useful. Honestly hacking your adversaries payroll system then getting caught is a joke. It’s the kind of thing teenagers and fraudster get up to. It’s hardly worthy of a great power cyber warfare capability.

It’s stupidity like this that stops China ever becoming a world power. It’s just goes out of its way to piss off everyone with little of no benefit to itself.

Jon (@guest_816569)
21 days ago
Reply to  Jim

As I understand it, it’s not the main payroll system.

David Owen
David Owen (@guest_816556)
21 days ago

Why are these chink bastards getting away with it?I forgot the incumbent government took chinese money ,thank god that bunch of useless fxxxxxxg bxxxxxds will be gone ,TIME FOR THE OLD BRITISH EMPIRE STRIKE BACK 🤔

Markam (@guest_816560)
21 days ago

It’s unfortunate that the West has not got any sense with regards to China. They’re supporting Russia, they’re hacking everyone, they’re claiming 90% of an area they have no sovereignty in, they’re openly declaring they’re going to take Taiwan by force, inevitably setting them on a Russian path to global pariah and even bringing the US and allies (probably including us) into direct war. And yet where is the response? Why are we sleepwalking into this conflict, if not by kneecapping the Chinese economy, at least trying to build up properly to meet it the threat and deter it by… Read more »

Ex-Military (@guest_816576)
21 days ago

Ohhh for once it hasn’t been blamed on a disgruntled soldier/employee I made multiple comments on this that were censored last time for months on the Capita Hack when I was part of the team working on the aftermath of the Capita Hack down in Upavon and couldn’t believe the incompetence I seen with my own two eyes.

Cj (@guest_816624)
21 days ago

Hope we are going to return the favour.

Coll (@guest_816901)
19 days ago

The MOD building vandalised by activists last week and now this.

Coll (@guest_816903)
19 days ago
Reply to  Coll

Obviously, one is greater than the other, but shows MOD still being attacked for different reasons.