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British elected officials demand a tougher line against China after data attacks

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Defense Minister Grant Shapps says his department cannot yet say with certainty who was behind a major data breach that may have exposed the names and details of a large number of employees. Photo: Frank Augstein / AP / NTB

Of NTB | 08.05.2024 06:54:29

Policy: The British government has said that it cannot rule out that state actors were involved in the attack, but it has not wanted to point to a single state. Sky News has pointed to China.

– However, I can confirm to the House of Commons that we have indications that these were the actions of a hostile actor, and that we cannot rule out that a state was involved, Defense Minister Grant Shapps told the elected representatives on Tuesday.

The Conservatives’ former party leader Iain Duncan Smith is among those calling for punitive measures. Leader Alicia Kearns of the Foreign Affairs Committee in Parliament is asking the government to “get the Foreign Office to change our attitude” towards China.

Shapps has acknowledged that China has been behind previous cyber attacks, including on Britain’s Electoral Commission, but on Tuesday he said he was “simply unable” to establish who was behind the attack.

– I want to emphasize that, even if we see that a hostile actor is involved, we have not made a full link to a state yet, Shapps said.

Investigations into the matter have shown that up to 272,000 people in the defense may have been affected by the data breach. Banking details of people serving in the British Armed Forces, and their identities, may have been compromised.

(© NTB)

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