On Wednesday, the United Kingdom criticized countries such as Russia, China, Iran and North Korea for launching cyberattacks and called for a global effort to counter these online threats.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab emphasized that an international coalition is necessary to strengthen cybersecurity against state agents and criminals who seek to undermine democratic norms.
“These actors are the industrial scale saboteurs of the 21st century. They want to undermine the foundations of our democracy,” he said at an online conference organized by the British National Center for Cybersecurity (NCSC).
Last week, the foreign ministers of the Group of Seven, a group of seven other industrialized nations that the United Kingdom chaired this year, called for a common approach to countering global threats, including cyberspace.
The United Kingdom has accused Russia of interfering in the 2019 general elections, the 2016 Brexit referendum, and the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.
Russian entities have also been blamed for trying to steal vital research on the Coronavirus from British, American and Canadian laboratories.
A British defense review in March called for an increase in cyberwar capabilities.
“When countries like Russia have criminals and gangs operating from their territories, they have a responsibility to go after those gangs, not protect them,” Raab said.
“We are using our capabilities because they are necessary to defend our citizens and protect international cooperation, and our opponents are using their power to steal, sabotage and plunder the international system,” he added.
On the other hand, London has banned the Chinese telecom giant Huawei, whom the United States accuses of spying for Beijing, from participating in the deployment of its 5G network, which it denies.
The United States has also recently suffered from a series of cyberattacks, including one against the pipeline system last week, and a major hack by software company SolarWinds.
Raab announced an investment program of 22 million pounds ($ 31 million, 25.6 million euros) to help African and Asian countries boost their cybersecurity capabilities.