The UK defence ministry said Tuesday it was investigating a reported hack by Russia of its computer systems targeting more than 100 army recruits.
The Daily Mail reported that the hack was “feared to have been a Russian agent” with the intention of targeting the recruits “as potential agents in the British Army”.
Armed forces minister James Heappey conceded that the incident was “a very poor reflection on our own IT”.
Speaking on LBC radio, Heappey said the ministry had “ordered an urgent review of our IT security as a consequence”.
According to the Mail, the ministry had found the personal records of 124 army candidates were illegally accessed, “but it is thought hundreds more could have been at risk”.
The incident in mid-March led to the army suspending access to its online application portal.
The report comes after the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing network — the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand — warned last week that Russia was poised to launch powerful cyberattacks against rivals supporting Ukraine.
With Moscow forced to divert its offensive away from Kyiv, the allies said they had picked up intelligence of cyberattacks against NATO members supplying Ukraine with weapons.
Heappey pushed back after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned of the “real” threat of World War III breaking out, ahead of a US-led meeting Tuesday in Germany over sending further arms to Ukraine.
Russian complaints that its invasion was sparked by NATO actions were “utter, utter nonsense”, the British minister told Sky News.
“Sergei Lavrov might also reflect that the reason there is a war in Ukraine right now is because Russia rolled over the borders of a sovereign country and started to invade their territory,” he added.