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UK to help vulnerable countries against Russia, China cyber threat

A hooded man is holding a laptop while cyber code is projected onto him in this illustration image captured on May 13, 2017. REUTERS / Kacper Pempel / Illustration

The UK said on Wednesday it would invest £ 22 million ($ 31 million) to help vulnerable countries in Africa and the Indo-Pacific build their cyber defenses to prevent China, Russia and others from entering a cyberspace vacuum to fill.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the UK and its partners need to take steps to ensure that there is a cyberspace that is free, open and peaceful in the face of hostile states that seek to undermine democratic elections and turn the internet into a lawless space.

“We have to win the hearts and minds around the world in a much broader space for our positive vision of cyberspace … there for the benefit of the whole world,” said Raab at an online security conference.

“Frankly, we also need to prevent China, Russia and others from filling the multilateral vacuum. That means doing a lot more to help the poorest and most vulnerable countries that are most at risk.”

Last month, the UK, along with the US, said Russian intelligence, known as SVR, was responsible for the SolarWinds hack that resulted in the compromise of nine federal agencies and hundreds of private sector companies.

Britain’s top cyber spy also warned in April that the West must act urgently to ensure China does not dominate key emerging technologies and gain control of the “global operating system”. Continue reading

Raab said the UK’s investment would be used to support national cyber response teams, advise on mass online security awareness campaigns and work with global police coordination agency Interpol to set up a new center for cyber operations in Africa.

This hub would operate across Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Rwanda to help fight cybercrime in fast-growing economies, the State Department said.

($ 1 = 0.7075 pounds)

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