The UK will invest 22 million pounds ($31 million) to boost cybersecurity in vulnerable developing countries, particularly in Africa, the Commonwealth and the Indo-Pacific region, to prevent China, Russia and others from filling the “vacuum,” Foreign Minister Dominic Raab announced on Wednesday.
“We have got to win hearts and minds across the world for our positive vision of cyberspace as a free space, open to all responsible users and there for the benefit of the whole world. And frankly, we’ve got to prevent China, Russia and others from filling the multilateral vacuum,” Rabb said at the CYBERUK virtual conference sponsored by the National Cyber Security Center.
The foreign secretary said that the UK will help INTERPOL set up a cyber operations hub in Africa that will work across Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Rwanda, claiming that the continent has become a target for cybercriminals.
“We are working with like-minded partners, to make sure that the international order that governs cyber is fit for purpose. Our aim should be to create a cyberspace that is free, open, peaceful and secure, and which benefits all countries and all people,” he stressed.
Upon calling for an international coalition to strengthen cybersecurity, Raab pointed at Moscow, Beijing, Tehran and Pyongyang as some of the “authoritarian regimes” that are now clashing with democratic states in cyberspace by “using digital tech to sabotage and steal, or to control and censor.”
He also argued that the UK is in the best position to lead the eventual international coalition, claiming that his country has the “world-beating” coders and scientists.
Russia has repeatedly been accused of waging cyberattacks against other countries and entities, something it has consistently denied.