The UK Accuses China of Cyber-Attacks: Here’s What You Need to Know

Dowden (Credits: The Independent)

The government is shining a light on the cybersecurity threat it believes China poses to the UK after growing concerns about Beijing.

Deputy PM Oliver Dowden talked about the UK’s response in parliament on Monday afternoon, marking a change in how Britain deals with China.

Deputy PM Oliver Dowden (Credits: Reuters)

Here’s what you should know.

What did Dowden say today?

Dowden blamed China for cyberattacks on the UK’s Electoral Commission in August 2021 and explained how the UK plans to react. The attack only became public last year.

During the attack, “hostile actors” from China accessed copies of voter registers and hacked into the Commission’s emails and systems. This meant the hackers got information on 40 million voters and 43 individuals, including MPs and peers.

However, officials said this didn’t affect any elections or voter registrations. Earlier today, PM Rishi Sunak said China is “the biggest state-based challenge to our national security.”

Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith (Credits: The Telegraph)

He said, “China is an economic threat to our security and a major challenge for us. So, we must take steps to protect ourselves.” But he didn’t call China a “threat” to the UK, which former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith has demanded.

Dowden told lawmakers that the government has punished two individuals and one company linked to the China state-affiliated group APT31. He said, “The UK won’t tolerate cyberattacks on our democratic institutions. Protecting our democratic system and values is a top priority for the UK Government.”