Cybersecurity Takes Center Stage In UK General Election Campaign After 400% Rise In MoD Data Breaches

Cybersecurity Takes Center Stage In UK General Election Campaigns After 400% Rise In MoD Data Breaches

The number of data breaches from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has surged by almost 400% over the past five years, raising concerns about the UK’s cybersecurity posture and its ability to withstand cyberattacks from China and Russia.

According to i News, MoD data reveals there were 550 data incidents reported last year, a significant increase from the 117 incidents reported in 2017-18. Additionally, government officials disclosed that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is currently conducting three ongoing investigations into personal data breaches at the MoD.

Serious Concerns About UK Cybersecurity

The Labour party pointed out that the increasing number of data breaches, often caused by unauthorized disclosures from within the department, raises serious concerns about the security measures in place. This comes after a recent targeted cyberattack, believed to be orchestrated by China, targeted the department. Labour criticized the Conservative government for their perceived lackadaisical attitude towards cyber security and promised that under a Keir Starmer administration, national security would be the top priority.

Earlier this month, it came to light that the MoD’s payroll system, which is managed by the third-party contractor SSCL, experienced a significant cyberattack attributed to China.

MoD’s Own Cybersecurity Data

According to the MoD’s own cybersecurity data, there were 117 data breaches in the year 2017-18. These cybersecurity breaches included 73 unauthorised disclosures, 22 incidents of lost electronic equipment, devices, or documents within highly secure government buildings, 11 cases of lost equipment or documents outside government premises, four instances of insecure disposal of documents, and seven other breaches.

However, the number of breaches significantly increased in the year 2022-23 reports, reaching a total of 550 breaches. This represents a staggering 370 percent rise compared to the previous year. Out of these breaches, 464 were attributed to unauthorised disclosures, 27 occurred due to lost equipment or documents within government premises, and nine incidents took place outside government premises. Additionally, one breach resulted from the insecure disposal of documents, and 49 breaches were classified under other categories.

In 2023, the ICO imposed a fine of £350,000 on the MoD. This penalty was a consequence of email data breaches that compromised the personal information of 265 individuals. These breaches occurred in the aftermath of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in 2021.

“Lapse Attitude Towards Cybersecurity”

“The number of threats against the UK is on the rise with incidents of data breaches within the MoD tripled in the past five years,” said Tim Royston-Webb, CEO, SentryBay. “Unfortunately, there is a lapse attitude towards cybersecurity in many government departments across the world, not just in the UK. SentryBay is committed to aiding governments and global corporations with our patented cybersecurity solutions.”

With cybercrime predicted to cost the world $10.5 trillion in 2024, SentryBay has developed a range of solutions to help government departments, enterprises, their customers, and partners arm themselves against the cybersecurity threats such as the recent MOD data breach.

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