UK Pledges Millions in Cyber-Defense Aid to Ukraine

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The British government has announced an extra £16m in funding for Ukraine to help protect the country’s critical national infrastructure (CNI) from Russian attacks.

Number 10 announced yesterday that the money would come on top of the foreign secretary’s announcement last year of £6.35m for the UK’s Ukraine Cyber Programme (UCP).

Read more on Russian cyber-attacks: Microsoft: Russia Has Launched Hundreds of Cyber Operations in Ukraine.

The UCP is designed to provide public and private sector cybersecurity expertise to help protect Ukrainian CNI and critical public services from Russian cyber-attacks.

“Russia’s appalling attacks on Ukraine are not limited to their barbaric land invasion, but also involve sickening attempts to attack their cyber infrastructure that provides vital services, from banking to energy supplies, to innocent Ukrainian people,” said prime minister, Rishi Sunak, in a statement.

“This funding is critical to stopping those onslaughts, hardening Ukraine’s cyber defenses and increasing the country’s ability to detect and disable the malware targeted at them.”

It’s hoped that an extra £9m will be contributed from unnamed “international allies,” which would bring the total package to £25m.

It’s expected that Sunak will also this week encourage the private sector to play a more active role by investing in war-torn Ukraine.

The UK is matching its financial commitment of cyber expertise with funding for more conventional military resources. It has contributed £250m to an International Fund for Ukraine (IFU) package, which will be spent on air defense – including radars, guns and ammunition – to help protect Ukrainian cities from Russian bombs.

The UK also recently delivered its much-prized Storm Shadow long-range missile system to Kyiv in a bid to bolster its counterattack capabilities. However, it emerged over the weekend that Ukraine’s military leaders may have paused the much-anticipated counteroffensive, which only began a few days ago, in order to assess their options.

There’s no further information on exactly what kind of cybersecurity support the UK would be providing, but Ukraine has been repeatedly hit by destructive malware, cyber-espionage attacks and information warfare campaigns designed to undermine public confidence in their leaders.

In an update in April 2022, Microsoft claimed that virtually all of Russia’s state actors were focusing their efforts on Ukrainian targets.

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