Theresa May has announced plans to commit £15m to improve cyber security in Commonwealth nations
Mrs May announced the package at the start of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting taking place in London this week.
She commented on the package, saying: “Cyber security affects us all, as online crime does not respect international borders.
“I have called on Commonwealth leaders to take action and to work collectively to tackle this threat.
“Our package of funding will enable members to review their cyber security capability, and deliver the stability and resilience that we all need to stay safe online and grow our digital economies.”
Cyber security affects us all, as online crime does not respect international borders
The package includes a £5.5m fund for low and middle income member nations to conduct comprehensive national cyber security reviews prior to the Commonwealth’s next meeting in 2020.
On top of the package, Mrs May is scheduled to hold a meeting on Wednesday with strategic “intelligence partners”, including New Zealand’s Prime minister Jacinda Ardern, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Mrs May commented on the role of the Commonwealth, saying: “The Commonwealth plays a pivotal role in shaping the future for many of its members.
“We have put security on the agenda for the first time so we can work together and build a safer future both for Britain, and for the 2.4 billion people around the world who live in the Commonwealth.”
14 of the biggest cyber-attacks, hacks and data breaches in history
The news comes at a time when international security services have confirmed they are “confident” Russia is seeking to hack into residential routers, allowing them to access and monitor all personal internet data including browsing history, passwords and correspondences.
There are growing fears Russia is targeting home routers in order to use them as “botnets”, from which they may be able to launch large cyber attacks.
Rob Joyce, the White House’s Cybersecurity Coordinator, described Russia’s accessing of personal internet data as a “tremendous weapon in the hands of an adversary”.
He commented on the threat posed by home internet servers, saying: “We are confident Russia has carried out a co-ordinated campaign to gain access to enterprise, small office routers and residential routers – the kind of things you and I have in our homes.
“We can’t rule out the possibility Russia may intend to use these set of compromises for future offensive operations.”
International security services believe Russia is seeking to hack into residential routers in the UK
GCHQ and the FBI released a joint statement on the issue saying they believed Russia is aiming to launch a large cyber attack on the UK and the US’s “critical infrastructure”.
The NCSC and the FBI warned such an attack would “threaten out respective safety, security and economic well-being.”
Counter-terrorism expert Michael Clarke, who specialises in defence studies, has consequently urged the public to be ready for “cyber warfare” within the next two or three weeks.
He said: “I suspect Russia will choose not to respond in military terms. But cyber warfare is highly likely.
“It will be an attack on national infrastructure, not just upsetting city firms, but getting inside the transport system, or the health system, or air traffic control. It could affect everyone.”