- Prime Minister announces new phase of UK-Georgia cyber programme at NATO Summit
- UK support will bolster the country’s resistance to attacks from Russia and elsewhere
- Georgian Prime Minister Garibashvili to attend Summit of NATO leaders today
Russia has long used Georgia as a testing ground for its cyber capability. This began 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.
More than £5 million of additional funding announced today marks the next phase of UK cyber support for Georgia. It will allow the Georgian National Security council to deliver their new cyber security strategy – identifying and repelling attacks from those seeking to undermine both Georgian and European security. The UK will also work directly with the Georgian Ministry of Defence to bolster their cyber defences and capability.
The announcement comes as Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili addresses the NATO Leaders’ Summit. Prime Minister Garibashvili and Ukrainian President Zelenskyy are both addressing the meeting of allies in Madrid. As NATO Enhanced Opportunities Partners the security of both countries is integral to the security of NATO and the Euro-Atlantic as a whole.
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 the last fifteen years.
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.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
The people of Georgia live every day on the frontline of Russian aggression. 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.
The National Cyber Security Centre has worked closely with its Georgian counterpart since 2018, providing training and support to improve the country’s cyber capability.
In October 2019 the Government of Georgia, alongside international partners including the UK’s NCSC called out a large-scale, disruptive cyber attack 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.
The UK’s Integrated Review, published last year, set out plans to make the UK one of the world’s leading democratic cyber plans. In addition to the National Cyber Security Centre, the National Cyber Force was established by the Prime Minister to transform the UK’s cyber capabilities to disrupt adversaries and keep the UK safe.