UK “on alert for cyber attack in China” in retaliation against Hong Kong

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Ministers say UK has reason to fear China’s cyber attack (Photo: Getty Images / AFP)

The government must be alert to potential cyberattacks from countries like China, said the ministers as tensions rise between London and Beijing.

Britain-China relations deteriorated last month after Boris Johnson pledged to provide refuge to millions of Hong Kong citizens if the country implements its security bill national. The government is also said to have “changed its mind” on plans by Chinese tech company Huawei to play a role in the development of the UK’s 5G network due to growing unease over security risks.

Now, high-level sources claim that worsening ties could see Britain targeted by Chinese-backed hackers in a so-called “cyber 9/11”. This could damage computer networks, cause power and telephone outages, and block hospitals, government and businesses.

The National Cyber ​​Security Center in Britain says it does not “expect” an increase in attacks. However, a senior minister said the threat was “obviously part of the conversation”, but added that “all the risks have to be looked at as part of the cycle”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during question period in the London House of Commons on July 8, 2020. UK Parliament / Jessica Taylor / Document via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.  THE IMAGE CANNOT BE MODIFIED IN ANY FORM.  MANDATORY CREDIT

Boris Johnson is committed to providing refuge to millions of Hong Kong citizens (Photo: Reuters)

They told the Mail on Sunday, “Huawei is a threat and not taking action threatens national security. However, actions have consequences and cannot be ruled out. ”

Ghost Security Minister Conor McGinn also stressed that the UK should be “alert to the risk of cyber attacks from hostile states” while “in this period of heightened tension”.

He added: “Our critical national infrastructure should be ready and able to repel such an attack on the United Kingdom. ”

Global strategist Dr. Alan Mendoza, of the Henry Jackson Society’s foreign policy think tank, said that China was “far from a benevolent friend” and said it made sense for critical systems “to the ‘China test’ in the UK is an urgent priority.

(FILES) In this photo taken on January 28, 2020, the logo of the Chinese company Huawei is visible in their main British offices in Reading, west London, on January 28, 2020. - The British government is about to end the use of Huawei technology in its 5G network this year for security concerns on July 6, 2020. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP via Getty Images)

The government is expected to announce that it will not develop the UK’s 5G network with Huawei (Photo: Getty Images)

In June, Australia revealed that it was facing large-scale cyberattacks of what Prime Minister Scott Morrison described as a “malicious” and “sophisticated” “state actor”.

He went on to say that the attack targeted “government, industry, political organizations, education, health, providers of essential services and operators of other essential infrastructure.”

The Australian government has not publicly identified China as responsible, but it is understood that officials have concluded that the attack may have been linked to tensions with Beijing. China has repeatedly denied any involvement.

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