Friday, 1 Mar 2024

Kremlin hackers leak UK Ministry of Defence data in ‘very damaging’ attack

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Kremlin-linked hackers have leaked top secret security information relating to British military and intelligence sites, it has been claimed.

Thousands of pages’ worth of data which could in theory enable criminals to get into nuclear submarine base HMNB Clyde and the chemical weapons lab at Porton Down are included, according to reports.

Details pertaining to high-security prisons as well as a military site vital to the UK’s cyber defences were also stolen by the LockBit group.

The databases of Zaun, a firm which makes fences for maximum security sites, were targeted by the hackers before being placed on the internet’s shady dark web.

LockBit has been described as the world’s most dangerous hacking gang, with suspects including Mikhail Matveev, who is on the FBI’s Most Wanted list after 1,400 attacks on targets around the world, including a failed £66million blackmail attempt on the Royal Mail.

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Labour MP Kevan Jones, a member of the Commons Defence Select Committee, told the Mirror: “This is potentially very damaging to the security of some of our most sensitive sites.”

Committee chairman Tory MP Tobias Ellwood said: “How does this affect the ability of our defence establishments to continue functioning without threat of attack?

“How do we better defend ourselves from Russian-backed interference no doubt related to our stance in supporting Ukraine?

“Finally, this is another example of how conflict is no longer limited to the traditional battlefield, it now includes the digital domain and is placing ever greater demands on security apparatus.”

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LockBit is widely believed to have financial connections to Russian gangsters.

In one leaked document relating to equipment bought to shield Porton Down, Zaun calls its work there “very secretive”.

Another document provides details of a sales order for goods at HMNB Clyde – better known as Faslane, where Britain’s Trident nuclear subs are based.

There is also a sales order report for equipment at GCHQ’s communications complex in Bude, Cornwall. Bude is described as being “a critical part” of Britain’s security.

The leak also includes security equipment at RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire, where the UK’s squadron of Reaper attack drones is based, as well Cawdor Barracks, whose 14th Signal Regiment handles electronic warfare.

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