UK cyber support will help the Commonwealth tackle rogue regimes

UK cyber support will help the Commonwealth tackle rogue regimes
  • The Foreign Secretary will announce £15m funding to help Commonwealth countries defend against cyber attacks.

  • Liz Truss will tell Foreign Ministers at a meeting in Rwanda today [24 June] that the Commonwealth has a vital role to play as a counterweight to malign actors.

  • Cyber ​​is a major security challenge for Commonwealth countries, with attacks in cyberspace and threats to sovereignty and freedom on the rise around the world.

The UK is providing a £15m support package to Commonwealth countries over the next three years against the growing threat of cyber attacks.

The Foreign Secretary hopes to boost the resilience of Commonwealth nations in the face of growing threats in cyberspace, enabling the bloc to defend itself.

Cyber ​​is among the top security challenges facing Commonwealth countries today, with 87% of organizations having experienced an attempt to exploit their existing vulnerabilities in cyberspace.

The Foreign Secretary will tell Foreign Ministers during a meeting today at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Rwanda that an enlarged Commonwealth, united behind its shared values, is a vital counterweight to the growing threat of malignant activity.

She will say that, together with other networks such as the G7 and NATO, the Commonwealth can and must play a vital role in challenging autocratic regimes and promoting freedoms around the world.

The revamped UK cyber support package for the Commonwealth will involve sharing cyber deterrence expertise, building expertise to understand threats, assess capacity and govern effectively to enable agile responses.

And it will support the voices of smaller countries to ensure that, collectively, we are able to stand up as a powerful voice behind our shared values ​​of sovereignty, democracy and good governance in cyberspace.

Chancellor Liz Truss said:

In an increasingly geopolitical world, the Commonwealth is a vital and expanding alliance united behind the values ​​of democracy, human rights and sovereignty.

The Commonwealth is taking collective action to strengthen our resilience and security, including in cyberspace, against autocratic regimes that challenge our freedoms.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a clear warning to all of us that our sovereignty and security are increasingly threatened around the world and in cyberspace.

The new UK funding will maximize the influence of each Commonwealth member state in vital international negotiations on cyber governance. It will support the voices of smaller countries to ensure that collectively we are able to stand up as a powerful voice behind our shared values ​​of sovereignty, democracy and good governance in cyberspace.

Tailor-made projects with Commonwealth countries will work to empower smaller states and a Commonwealth Cyber ​​Governance network will bring together experts from across the organization, as well as augment in-country cyber attachés and UN Women Fellows in Cybernetics.

Collectively, it will make it harder for rogue states to pry into domestic cyberspace across the Commonwealth.

The last CHOGM was held in the UK in 2018, with the UK now handing over the presidency to Rwanda.

Background

  • Check Point Software 2022 Security Report showed that 87% of organizations have experienced an attempted exploitation of a known existing vulnerability.
  • The UK made cybersecurity and resilience a Commonwealth-wide priority during its tenure as acting President for the past four years. Since CHOGM 2018, each member state has taken steps to improve its cybersecurity proficiency and capacity. A Commonwealth declaration in 2020 called for greater coordination on cybersecurity and the 2018 Commonwealth Cyber ​​Declaration, agreed by all member states, has strengthened an inclusive and rights-based cyberspace that supports economic and social development.
  • UK funding has helped civil society groups in Belize, Kenya, Sierra Leone and Ghana engage with national governments and contribute to national cybersecurity strategies.
  • Ransomware has become the most significant cyber threat facing the UK this year, with reports of attacks more than doubling since 2020.

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