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A general view of the U.K.'s Defense Ministry building on Jan. 28, 2019, in London. (John Keeble/Getty Images)
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The U.K. Defense Ministry was struck by a cyberattack likely carried out by Chinese hackers, Sky News reported on May 7.

Chinese and Russian-linked hacking groups have been accused of launching cyberattacks on a number of European governments and institutions, such as the U.K.'s Sellafield nuclear waste site.

The latest cyberattack was reportedly directly attributed to the Chinese state, according to Sky News. It targeted the payroll system of defense ministry employees and resulted in the breach of an unspecified amount of personal data.

"This is yet another example of why the U.K. government must admit that China poses a systemic threat to the U.K. and change the integrated review to reflect that," said lawmaker Iain Duncan Smith in comments to Sky News.

"No more pretense, it is a malign actor, supporting Russia with money and military equipment, working with Iran and North Korea in a new axis of totalitarian states," he added.

The BBC reported that Defense Secretary Grant Shapps is expected to provide a public update on the extent of the hacking and the government's "multi-point plan" to respond in an address to the parliament later on May 7.

The news comes amid Chinese President Xi Jinping's first trip to the EU in five years.

The Chinese leader's visit comes at a strenuous time, as Beijing and Europe are increasingly at odds over China's support for Russia during the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

EU, NATO denounce Russia’s cyberattacks on Germany, Czechia
“This type of behavior is contrary to the UN norms of responsible state behavior in cyberspace, such as impairing the use and operation of critical infrastructure,” the European Council said.
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