U.K. Ministry of Defence hit by cyberattack, data stolen

U.K. Ministry of Defence hit by cyberattack, data stolen

Summary: The U.K. government department was victim of a cyber-espionage attack that saw sensitive data stolen by unnamed hackers, a parliamentary report discloses.


The latest annual report from the U.K. Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) has disclosed that the U.K.'s Ministry of Defence suffered a cyberattack in which data was stolen.

Despite heavy redactions to protect sources and budgets from prying eyes, the admission was buried halfway through the document in a section detailing how the U.K. government can and is protecting itself against foreign cyberthreats and attacks.

"Government departments are also targeted via attacks on industry suppliers which may hold government information on their own systems," the report said. "We have been told that cyber espionage '[has] resulted in MOD data being stolen.' This has both security and financial consequences for the U.K."

The ISC report also noted that over 200 government email accounts across 30 departments were targeted in attempts to steal confidential or classified data. In some publicly documented cases, U.K. government websites were downed in denial-of-service attacks, which the report notes, by hackers and outside hacktivst groups.

The parliamentary report said the government's systems defenses are "reasonably well developed," though noted it was a constant challenge to ensure that the changing nature of cyberattacks did not keep the attacks from being prevented.

Government is not the only target for data thefts. In one documented case, the ISC report highlighted one unnamed company that lost "at least £800 million ($1.19bn)" through cyberattacks last year, in which data was stolen. 

"The threat the UK is facing from cyber attacks is disturbing in its scale and complexity," the report noted. "The theft of intellectual property, personal details and classified information causes significant harm, both financial and non-financial."

Topics: Security, Government UK

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  • The UK uses Linux, isn't that right?

    zdnet flags almost every post as "sp*m". Even the most innocuous posts. So if you have me targeted for this ZDNET then just let me know, you have my email. I"ve written a number of times with no response. Typical. And the posts full of vulgarities continue.
    • "The UK uses Linux"

      ...and your point is???
      Just about everywhere in the world you will find Linux being used as the backend on servers and file storage systems.
      If your previous posts that were flagged as spam were as meaningless as this one then frankly I'm not surprised!
      The Central Scrutinizer
      • Real-time "meaningless" evaluation software.

        ZDNeT is becoming an innovative blogging site.
        Yours should have been flagged as spam for it's sarcasm, the talkbacks are supposed to be polite are they not?
        And besides, you took the time to reply with post that was even more meaningless. That is really ironic.
        I'm wondering why Linux is getting taken out so often. There have been many high profile data thefts from x sites in the last 5 years or so. What is being exploited?
  • Agreed

    If corporate giants continue to buy out inventions then you can count on the same interests attempting to steal the process of evolution. A while back there was a small attempt a free us from the grips of the disposable razor by inventing a sharpener. Guess who bought the rights? If my interests were with gillette...
    Oh and you have to sell or we will let our law dogs off their leash