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UK to bolster Georgia’s cyber defences against Russian cyber attacks

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a new phase of UK-Georgia cyber program at the NATO summit, which will see the UK strengthen Georgia’s resistance to Russian cyber attacks by providing additional security support.

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Fri, 01 Jul 2022
UK to bolster Georgia’s cyber defences against Russian cyber attacks
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More than £5 million of additional funding marks the next phase of UK cyber support for Georgia.

Announced by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the NATO summit, the funds will allow the Georgian National Security Council to deliver their new cyber security strategy which aims to identify and repel attacks from malicious cyber actors seeking to undermine both Georgian and European security. The UK is also set to work directly with the Georgian Ministry of Defence to bolster their cyber defences and capability.

"The people of Georgia live every day on the frontline of Russian aggression.

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"Putin cannot be allowed to use Georgia’s sovereign institutions to sharpen the knife of his cyber capability.

"The UK has world-leading cyber prowess and the support announced today will protect not just Georgia, but also the UK and all other free democracies threatened by Russian hostility," Prime Minister Johnson said.

The announcement comes as Georgia's Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili addresses the NATO leaders' Summit. Prime Minister Garibashvili and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky are both addressing the meeting of allies in Madrid. As NATO Enhanced Opportunity Partners, the security of both countries is integral to the security of NATO and the Euro-Atlantic as a whole.

Russia has long used Georgia as a testing ground for its cyber capability, in 2008, when some of the world's first coordinated cyber attacks were used to cripple the country's security architecture while Russia carried out its illegal annexation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Over the past 15 years, both Ukraine and Georgia have experienced the terrible consequences of Russian military aggression, both directly in their territories and indirectly through cyber and other attacks.

In October 2019, the government of Georgia, alongside international partners including the UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), called out a large-scale, disruptive cyber attacks carried out against Georgia by the GRU. The attack affected a range of Georgian web hosting providers and resulted in websites being defaced, including sites belonging to the Georgian government, courts, non-government organisations (NGOs), media and businesses, and also interrupted the service of several national broadcasters.

UK bilateral support for Georgia's cyber security will be complemented by an additional package of tailored support from NATO which will be agreed by leaders in Madrid, focusing on increased defence training.

The UK NCSC has worked closely with its Georgian counterpart since 2018, providing training and support to improve the country's cyber capability.

[Related: North Korean hackers biggest losers of crypto crash]

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