The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has passed on information about Russian cyber activity to 16 NATO allies over the last 18 months, the foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt revealed today (23 May).
Speaking at NCSC’s headquarters in London, Hunt said the UK regularly shares technical knowledge with allies in order to help them address the threat that Russia posed.
“Russia’s intelligence services are targeting the critical national infrastructure of many countries in order to look for vulnerabilities,” he said. “This global campaign also seeks to compromise central government networks.”
While Hunt said NATO nations’ response to Russian cyber interference had improved, he noted that there was more work to be done.
“We can and must do more to improve our response,” he said. “In particular, we should be more emphatic about what we consider to be unacceptable behaviour and the consequences for any breach of international law.”
The European Union introduced a new sanctions regime last week which Hunt said would enable states to impose “travel bans and asset freezes on those who carry out ‘cyber attacks with a significant effect'”.
Robert Hannigan, the former director of GCHQ, warned last year that Russia’s increasingly sophisticated arsenal of cyber weaponry posed a growing threat to critical national infrastructure.
In March, the security vendor FireEye revealed Russian hackers had launched a spearphishing campaign against a number of European governments.