Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : UK boosts Ukraine’s cyber defences with £6 million support package [November 2022]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 1 November 2022.

  • UK’s Ukraine Cyber Programme is protecting the Ukrainian Government and its critical national infrastructure from malicious cyber attacks.
  • Partnership with industry is preventing Russian malign actors from accessing vital networks and providing forensic capabilities to the Ukrainian authorities.
  • An initial £6.35 million package was mobilised in response to an increasing tempo of Russian cyber activity in the days following the invasion of Ukraine.

A £6.35 million support package from the UK Government is protecting Ukraine’s critical national infrastructure and vital public services from cyber attacks, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has revealed.

The UK’s Ukraine Cyber Programme was mobilised shortly after Putin’s invasion in February to protect against increased Russian cyber attacks. The programme has not been made public until now to protect its operational security.

Utilising the expertise of world-leading cyber security providers, the UK’s Ukraine Cyber Programme has to date:

  1. Provided incident response support to Government of Ukraine entities, protecting them against destructive cyber attacks, including malware such as Industroyer2. This is preventing malicious actors from accessing vital information relevant to the war effort.
  2. Limited attacker access to vital networks and supported Ukraine to harden their critical infrastructure against future attacks.
  3. Delivered frontline cyber security hardware and software including: firewalls to prevent attacks taking hold; DDoS protection to ensure Ukrainian citizens can continue to access vital information; and forensic capabilities to enable Ukrainian analysts to fully understand system compromises.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said:

Russia’s attack on Ukraine is not limited to its horrific land invasion. It has also persistently attempted to invade Ukraine’s cyberspace, threatening critical information, services and infrastructure.

The UK’s support to Ukraine is not limited to military aid – we are drawing on Britain’s world-leading expertise to support Ukraine’s cyber defences. Together, we will ensure that the Kremlin is defeated in every sphere: on land, in the air and in cyber space.

Lindy Cameron, CEO of the National Cyber Security Centre, said:

The NCSC is proud to have played a part in supporting Ukraine’s cyber defenders. They have mounted an impressive defence against Russian aggression in cyberspace, just as they have done on the physical battlefield.

The threat remains real and the UK’s support package is undoubtedly bolstering Ukraine’s defences further.

Russian actors have a long history of hostile and destabilising activity against Ukraine, including:

  • Shutting off part of Ukraine’s electricity grid in December 2015, leaving 230,000 people without power for up to 6 hours.
  • Destructive cyber attacks in 2017 targeting Ukraine’s finance and energy sectors and government services, leading to knock-on effects on other European partners.
  • Kyiv metro and Odessa airport disrupted by ransomware that encrypted hard drives.
  • Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on 15-16 February 2022, which the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) judge were the work of Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency.
  • A series of cyber attacks since the invasion, including against commercial operators such as Viasat in March which had a serious impact on access to internet and other services across both Ukraine and other parts of Europe.

The tempo of Russian cyber attacks against Ukraine increased significantly following its illegal invasion in February 2022, seeking to undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty and strategic advantage in the war.

The UK’s support is strengthening Ukraine’s cyber defences and improving collective long-term cyber resilience.