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Fears are raised after a cyberattack that criminals might target UK gun owners for their firearms

Photo by Chris Boland on Unsplash

Police are investigating a cyber-attack involving potentially thousands of British gun owners, raising concerns that organised criminals may target them for firearms.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) is assessing the level of risk after the National Smallbore Rifle Association (NSRA) confirmed that data belonging to some of its members had been “compromised”.

On Saturday the rifle owners’ organisation said it was sharing details of the attack with local firearms police officers and urged anyone with security concerns to contact police.

It added that the NCA, along with the South East Regional Organised Cybercrime Unit (SEROCU), was investigating the incident and attempting to evaluate the threat posed to gun owners by the attack.

An NSRA statement said: “We have engaged with the National Crime Agency and national police firearms licensing to assess and mitigate any additional firearms risk around the data which has been compromised.”

However, it could not reveal who the hack had affected because the organisation had “no access to the servers”, although it said the cyber-strike had targeted “legacy servers” instead of its entire database.

“We can [also] confirm that this attack has not affected the membership portal, which remains secure,” added the governing body for smallbore rifle, airgun and crossbow target shooting in the UK.

However, news that details of gun owners have been hacked will prompt fears that it could lead to their homes and family being targeted by criminals seeking weaponry.

Firearms are difficult to acquire, and potentially valuable on the black market, because of the tight gun controls in the UK.

Archie Bland and Nimo Omer take you through the top stories and what they mean, free every weekday morning

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Following a data breach last year involving a leading website for buying and selling shotguns and rifles, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) urged its members “to be vigilant around home security”.

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