Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today called on the government to redouble efforts to improve the UK’s cyber defences for the government, businesses and critical infrastructure, following the further invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Attacks on Ukraine have greatly escalated today and Russia has warned other countries not to interfere with its attack; Russia is known to have launched significant cyberattacks on Ukraine as well as other states and non-state groups.
Speaking in the House, Mr Carmichael said:
“I’m sure the minister will have been as appalled as I have been today to see the scenes of Russian aggression on our televisions. We should be equally concerned, however, about the aggression that we cannot see. The minister has responsibility for cybersecurity – can he give the House some assurance that his department is now taking urgent steps to ensure that government and commerce in this country is going to be protected against what we should be reasonable expect to be coming from that direction?”
Responding for the government, James Cleverly MP said:
“He raises an extremely important point. It is something which we are working across the United Kingdom. Through the excellent work of the national cybersecurity centre we are ensuring that the new national strategy and the government strategy on cybersecurity are taken forward, and that is about building a whole of society resilience to the cyber risk while also recognising the huge opportunities that online platforms offer.”
Reacting after the exchange, Mr Carmichael said:
“Everything that the minister said was about existing work, which is no doubt extensive. We must, however, expect increased cyberattacks from Russia in the coming period, even beyond past aggression. We cannot afford to sit still.
“Today is a dark day for our continent. We have to be clear – whatever the course of the conflict, Putin has shown himself to be consciously and actively engaged in undermining liberal democracies, particularly through cyberattacks. It is vital that we redouble our efforts to meet that threat and protect critical infrastructure as well as taking other actions to counter Russian disinformation and disruption.”