The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) was the target of a “serious cybersecurity incident”, it has emerged.
The details came via a tender document published on a government website, seemingly by mistake.
It revealed that cyber-security firm BAE Systems Applied Intelligence was called on for “urgent support”.
The BBC understands unidentified hackers got inside the FCDO systems but were detected.
A spokesperson for the FCDO told the BBC: “We do not comment on security but have systems in place to detect and defend against potential cyber incidents.”
It is not believed that any classified or highly sensitive material was breached. It is also not clear when the incident took place, but the contract finished on 12 January of this year.
The contract was valued at £467,325.
Several foreign states have been accused of major espionage campaigns in the past, including Russia and China, and foreign ministries of several states are regularly targeted – and often breached.
The tender details were first reported by the publication The Stack. It says that BAE Systems was “the Authority’s long-term service management integrator”.
“Due to the urgency and criticality of the work, the Authority was unable to comply with the time limits for the open or restricted procedures or competitive procedures with negotiation.”