PM commits £15m to help Commonwealth countries strengthen cybersecurity capabilities

Theresa May has set aside up to £15m in a bid to help Commonwealth countries strengthen their cybersecurity capabilities to block criminal groups and hostile actors which pose a global threat to security.

The news comes amid claims from the US and UK that Russian state-sponsored actors are targeting millions of internet users .

Officials from both countries said they have “high confidence” that cyber actors supported by the Kremlin have carried out a coordinated campaign to gain access to internet routers.

According to a statement, the new funding will support Commonwealth partners as they prevent and respond to cybersecurity risks affecting governments, businesses and citizens.

In terms of breakdown, £5.5m has been set aside to enable low and middle income Commonwealth members to carry out national cybersecurity capacity reviews before the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2020.

May said: “The future is at the heart of the Commonwealth events being held this week and with that, we must look towards the emerging challenges that we and our Commonwealth partners face. Cyber security affects us all, as online crime does not respect international borders.

“I have called on Commonwealth leaders to take action and to work collectively to tackle this threat. Our package of funding will enable members to review their cyber security capability, and deliver the stability and resilience that we all need to stay safe online and grow our digital economies.

“The Commonwealth plays a pivotal role in shaping the future for many of its members. We have put security on the agenda for the first time so we can work together and build a safer future both for Britain, and for the 2.4 billion people around the world who live in the Commonwealth,” she concluded.

The committal of funds comes as May is set to join Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull, New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern and Canadian PM Justin Trudeau for an intelligence partners meeting.