China is a ‘genuine and increasing’ cyber threat to UK, says GCHQ head

The director of GCHQ has warned that China poses a “genuine and increasing” cyber risk to the UK.

Speaking at an event run by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), Anne Keast-Butler described the Chinese Communist Party’s cyber capabilities as “world-class”, adding that the country intends to use them to achieve its national goals.

She said that responding to the challenge posed by China is GCHQ’s top priority, with more resource devoted to the topic than any other single mission.

“We see the Chinese state acting in an increasingly assertive fashion on the world stage,” Keast-Butler said. “The UK’s intelligence community is working alongside our allies and in partnership with our industry and academic colleagues to combat and deter cyber threats from nation states and hostile actors.”

Her comments follow the news that China reportedly targeted a payroll system at the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The payroll system, which was targeted by hackers, was managed by an external contractor and included the names and financial information of employees that have worked in the Royal Navy, Army and Airforce over several years.

Felicity Oswald, chief executive of the NCSC, added that the challenge posed by China is “clear and pronounced” and that the Chinese government’s capability is “vast in scale and sophistication”.

“Cyber is being deployed across multiple fronts to help the Chinese state meet its strategic ends,” Oswald said. “This should worry all of us concerned with cyber resilience.

“Business leaders and networks defenders must take action to make critical systems more secure across our economy.”

Share Story:

Recent Stories

Bringing Teams to the table – Adding value by integrating Microsoft Teams with business applications
A decade ago, the idea of digital collaboration started and ended with sending documents over email. Some organisations would have portals for sharing content or simplistic IM apps, but the ways that we communicated online were still largely primitive.

Automating CX: How are businesses using AI to meet customer expectations?
Virtual agents are set to supplant the traditional chatbot and their use cases are evolving at pace, with many organisations deploying new AI technologies to meet rising customer demand for self-service and real-time interactions.