MoD Training Academy was targeted by an’sophisticated cyber attack’ from a criminal or hostile state in order to gain access to UK military secrets through a “backdoor”, Air Marshal revealed.

  • Defence Academy was attacked by Air Marshal Edward Stringer
  • This institution is located in Shrivenham (Oxfordshire), and was targeted by the government in March 2021
  • The retired Air Marshal Stringer said the damage was not yet fully repaired. 

Retired high-ranking officers have revealed that cyber attacks on the UK’s Defence Academy by Russia or China caused significant damage.

Sky News spoke to Air Marshal Edward Stringer about the August attack on the Armed Forces. The attack, which was first discovered March 2021, meant that the Defence Academy in Shrivenham (Oxfordshire) was forced into rebuilding its network.

Sky reported that although he claimed he doesn’t know the exact cause, he stated that criminals and a hostile country, such as China, Russia or Iran, are responsible. However, months later, damage remains unrepaired.

The academy may have been used as a “backdoor” to allow criminals to get into other Ministry of Defence (MoD), Air Marshal Stringer stated. 

According to Mr Stringer, the outlet was told that it could be either any one of these or someone looking for vulnerabilities in a ransomware attack.

He said, “There were costs for… operational output.” When they had to fix this kind of damage, there were opportunities costs for what their staff could have done.

“And on what should we spend the money that we have to put forward for rebuilding the network?” Although there are no bodies on the streets, some of the damage has been done.

A cyber attack on the UK's Defence Academy - possibly by Russia or China - caused 'significant' damage, a retired high-ranking officer has revealed. Above: The Defence Academy, in Shrivenham, Oxfordshire

Unretired officer of high rank has disclosed that the cyberattack on Britain’s Defence Academy, possibly carried out by Russia and China, caused “significant” damage. Above: The Defence Academy in Shrivenham (Oxfordshire).

Sky News reports that there was no sensitive data stored on the academy network.

This school educates approximately 28,000 diplomats, military personnel and civil servants each year. It also moved to the internet during the pandemic.

Sky was given an exclusive interview by Stringer, his first since leaving military service. He stated that contractors from outsourcing company Serco discovered the unusual activity and the ‘alarm bells started to ring’.

The outlet was told by him that there were some ‘external agent(s)’ on the network, who appeared to be there for what seemed very quickly like nefarious motives.

Air Marshal Edward Stringer, who left the armed forces in August, told Sky News the attack which was discovered in March 2021 meant the Defence Academy, in Shrivenham, Oxfordshire, was forced to rebuild its network

Sky News’ Air Marshal Edward Stringer left the Armed Forces in August. The attack discovered March 2021 at Shrivenham in Oxfordshire meant that the Defence Academy had to be rebuilt.

Sky was informed by him that the hacker’s attempt to attack the Academy failed. While the hackers might have used the academy to access other Ministry of Defence (MoD), systems, there weren’t any breaches outside the school.

Sky News reports that Mr Stringer was the director general of joint forces development. He also led the military’s thinking on how to adapt to future warfare. According to Sky News, the attack fell in the “grey zone of danger”, which is below the threshold for war.

Sky explained that this site was much like a website for a university. Sky says the task has not been completed.

Sky News reports that hackers were also discovered at the National Cyber Security Centre. This is a branch GCHQ.

According to the outlet, a spokesperson for MoD stated that they were informed in March 2021 of an incident affecting the Defence Academy’s IT infrastructure. We quickly reacted and the incident had no effect on other IT networks in the Ministry of Defence. The Defence Academy’s teaching has not been affected.