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MoD ‘acted very swiftly’ to take ‘third-party’ hacked data base offline, says minister

Mel Stride, the work and pensions secretary, has said the Ministry of Defence acted “very swiftly” in the face of a data breach Sky News understands was made by China.

MPs will be told today of a massive data breach involving the MoD, targeting service personnel.

The government will not name the country involved, but Sky News understands this to be China.

Asked about this, Mr Stride says: “We will know that when Grant Shapps the defence secretary makes a statement to parliament later on this afternoon.

“What I can tell you is the MoD has acted very swiftly to take this data base offline, it’s a third-party data base and certainly not one run directly by the MoD.

“And of course they are there to advise and provide support to those who may be concerned about the fact that this data has been breached.”

Asked if it is concerning, Mr Stride reiterates that the targeted data was not “an MoD data base as such, it was a third party”.

“But nonetheless that’s still a very significant matter and Grant Shapps will be addressing that in parliament this afternoon.”

He adds: “We take cyber security extremely seriously.”

However, he refuses to comment further ahead of Mr Shapps’ statement.

Asked if China is a threat, Mr Stride says the UK has recognised “that China is an epoch-defining challenge”.

Pressed if they are an enemy, the minister says they are “most definitely a challenge”, and it is important to find a “balance” and make sure “we are sensible in terms of protecting ourselves”.