Ministry of Defense hit by Chinese cyber attack as workers warn details could be stolen

Thousands of Ministry of Defense workers in Bristol have been warned that their bank details could have been stolen by the Chinese in a cyber attack that targeted the armed forces and Ministry of Defense staff.

Government ministers have reacted to reports that China was behind the cyber attack, which targeted a third-party payroll system for Ministry of Defense employees and compromised the bank details of all serving personnel and some veterans. A very small number of addresses may also have been accessed.

The MoD Abbey Wood complex in Filton employs up to 13,000 people in procurement for all three branches of the armed forces as part of the Defense and Support Equipment component.

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The Ministry of Defense (MOD) took immediate action when it discovered the breach, taking the external network – operated by a contractor – offline. Cabinet minister Mel Stride said the government takes cyber security “extremely seriously”. The World and Pensions Secretary said the government was not yet blaming Beijing.

He told Sky News, which first claimed China was behind the hack: “This is an assumption. We’re not saying that at this precise moment.”

But Mr Stride said the government saw Beijing’s government as an “age-defining challenge” and “our eyes are wide open when it comes to China”.

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