An expert has warned that attacks from Britain’s enemies are becoming “relentless” as we enter a “new era” of global conflict.
This comes after Russian hackers allegedly obtained top-secret security information about some of the country’s most sensitive military sites, including the HMNB Clyde nuclear submarine base on the west coast of Scotland and the Porton Down chemical weapons laboratory.
Last month’s “potentially very damaging” attack by hacker group LockBit, which has known links to Russian nationals, leaked thousands of pages of data onto the dark web after private security firm Zaun was targeted, the Sunday Mirror newspaper reported.
The company, which provides security fencing for Defense Department-related sites, said it was the victim of a “sophisticated cyberattack.”
Reacting to the news, Kevin Curran, professor of cybersecurity at the University of Ulster, told the PA news agency that LockBit’s attack was “serious” as we move closer to a possible “third world war” following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
He said the raid was “probably” sponsored by the Russian state given the nature of the target and that cyberattacks by Britain’s enemies had become “relentless”.
Professor Curran warned that we are unprepared for this new era because third-party companies holding data about our military infrastructure are not properly regulated.
He said: “You can’t just expect third parties to play by your rules.
“There is always a risk when you have third parties and wondering whether they are adhering to industry best practices.
“It’s worrying because everything is online now – cybercrime is the biggest crime in the world.
“In view of the new era we are entering, which is on the verge of the Third World War, everything is serious.
They pursue these attacks relentlessly
“They are relentless with these attacks. The best way into our country is through our cybersecurity. This is the nation in danger.
“In this case, given the goal, my money would be used to support it from the state.”
Edward Lucas, a security and defense specialist, said: “The problem is that we don’t live in a bubble – we bring things with us from the outside world.” Therein lie the vulnerabilities.
“(This information) gives them an idea of the physical location and the things that come in and out of that place – it’s like a lily pad. You have to jump from one to the other to get where you want to go.”
The comments come after Labor MP Kevan Jones, who sits on the House of Commons defense committee, called on the government to explain why Zaun’s computer systems were “so vulnerable” and warned: “This is potentially very damaging to them Security of some of our most sensitive systems websites.”
“Any information that provides security to potential enemies is a matter of grave concern,” he added.
The government has so far refused to respond to concerns. A spokesman said: “We do not comment on security matters.”
In a statement posted on its website on Friday, Zaun said it had “taken all appropriate measures to contain any attacks on our systems” and said it had referred the matter to the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC).
It explained that the breach was caused by a “rogue Windows 7 PC” that was running software for one of their manufacturing machines, but that the network was “otherwise up to date.”
It said: “At the time of the attack, we believed that our cybersecurity software had prevented any data transmission.
“However, we can now confirm that LockBit managed to download some data during the attack, possibly limited to the vulnerable PC, but with the risk that some data on the server was accessed.”
“This is assumed to be 10GB of data, or 0.74% of our stored data.
“Fence is known to be a specialist in high security fencing and has supplied fencing to many well-known locations.
“The locations where our products are used include prisons, military bases and utility companies.”
Zaun has been contacted for further comment.
https://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/russian-kevan-jones-scotland-government-ministry-of-defence-b1104517.html Expert warns: Russian cyberattacks ‘relentless’ as threat of World War III grows