UK sanctions China firm for allegedly hacking election body and lawmakers

Britain has sanctioned a Chinese company and two hackers for their alleged involvement in cyberattacks targeting the country's election watchdog and parliamentarians.

Britain's Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office on Monday announced the sanctions imposed on the Chinese firm based in Wuhan in Hubei Province and two individuals.

The sanctions include the freezing of assets and a ban on travel to Britain.

The foreign office said that the Electoral Commission systems were compromised by a China state-affiliated cyber actor between late 2021 and October 2022.

The office said, "It is completely unacceptable that China state-affiliated organisations and individuals have targeted our democratic institutions and political processes."

It stressed that these attempts to interfere with Britain's democracy have not been successful.

The public broadcaster BBC reported that the Electoral Commission had databases containing the names and addresses of about 40 million registered voters.

BBC warned that the hack "could have put a vast amount of private data into the hands of cyber criminals."

It added that the "prospect of fresh sanctions by the UK government will likely prompt Beijing to retaliate in some form."