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Russian hackers suspected of leaking classified UK military and defence data

Sensitive military and defence material including information on nuclear submarine base and chemical weapons lab has been stolen and leaked to on to the internet, Daily Mail reported.

The information related to a specialist cyber defence site and several British high-security prisons was stolen during the attack on Zaun, a provider of fences for the sites with the highest level of security. It provided security barriers at the London 2012 Olympics.

It is assumed that data on the HMNB Clyde nuclear submarine base, Porton Down chemical weapons lab and a GCHQ listening post was leaked to the dark web after the hack.

The Sunday Mirror reported that the latest hack was carried out by group LockBit. The same organisation is responsible for a January cyber attack on the Royal Mail Group in January.

Any data related to sharing security information to the UK’s enemies raises concern among the government representatives. A defence source, however, ensures that the stolen data does not present a major threat to national security, but the situation was taken “very seriously”.

LockBit is considered one of the world’s most dangerous hacking organisations. According to cybersecurity experts, it includes people added to the FBI’s most wanted list and some Russian members. Last month, it attacked Zaun based in West Midlands.

The stolen data contains a sales order report for equipment at GCHQ’s communications complex in Bude, Cornwall. It also includes security equipment at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, where the MQ-9 Reaper attack drones squadron is based, and Cawdor Barracks, a location equipped with electronic warfare regiments.

Some of the documents were related to high- security prisons, such as Category A Long Lartin in Worcestershire and HMP Whitemoor in Cambridgeshire.

“This is potentially very damaging to the security of some of our most sensitive sites,” Labour MP Kevan Jones, a member of the Commons defence committee told the Sunday Mirror.

“The Government needs to explain why this firm’s computer systems were so vulnerable.”

Commenting on the situation, Tory MP Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the defence committee, posed the question: “How do we better defend ourselves from Russian-backed interference no doubt related to our stance in supporting Ukraine?”

“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.”

A Zaun spokesman claimed that Zaun, becoming a “victim” of a sophisticated cyber-attack, had heightened its security measures.

A government spokesman reacted to the leak of classified data as follows:

“We do not comment on security matters.”

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