Britain Has Secretly Contributed £6m To Ukraine’s Cyber Defence

Brititain's defence secret about helping Ukraine defend against Russian cyber attacks has been revealed. British cyber spies have been playing a key role in defending Ukraine from widespread Russian cyber attacks since the start of the invasion, it has been confirmed.

Details of the £6.35m package had not been made public before in order to protect operational security officials said. Now the UK says that the Kremlin is aware of the programme. This scheme explains how private contractors have helped to protect Kyiv from attacks on key databases and infrastructure.

Ukraine saw unprecedented attacks from a range of Russian intelligence services, according to those involved in the programme. But Ukrainian defences, supported by some of its allies, was able to defend against many of the attempts to take down systems, although Russia has repeatedly dismissed claims it has carried out cyber attacks.

The targeting of Ukraine in cyber space was believed to represent the most extensive compromise of a single government seen in history. Security sources involved in defending Ukraine say that Russian attacks came in waves, accelerating in the second half of last year as Moscow prepared for its invasion. The first wave saw it seeking to disrupt government ministries around January and February and then moving to a new, more opportunistic phase in recent months. 

Britain has worked with Ukraine on cyber defence previously and stepped the level of support, including direct help, following the invasion. The assistance has focused on working with industry partners to provide specialist forensic capabilities to detect and investigate attacks as well as offering hardware and other systems to bolster defences. "We brought some of our expertise to bear on helping them defend from what has been a daily onslaught of cyber attacks from Russia since the start of the invasion," said Leo Docherty, Europe minister at the British Foreign Office . 

Docherty said the damage inflicted by Russian hackers would have been “very significant” without the support of the UK  and Foreign Office officials are claiming to have led the way amongst Western allies in providing specialist expertise.

The British support drew on the expertise of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which is part of GCHQ.  In a statement, Lindy Cameron, chief executive of the NCSC said her centre "is proud to have played a part in supporting Ukraine's cyber defenders. They have mounted an impressive defence against Russian aggression in cyberspace, just as they have done on the physical battlefield".

The US military's Cyber Command also recently revealed the way in which it helped hunt Russians inside Ukrainian systems, although their team had withdrawn by the time of the February invasion. Sources close to the UK programme, which includes extensive private sector support, say they saw waves of attacks, sometimes using innovative techniques.

BBC:     Express:       Sky:    Gov.UK:     Reddit:      Independent:

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