It's taken a while, but cybersecurity is now firmly on the agenda of politicians, whether talking about defence or crime, as two meetings this week demonstrate.
The UK was the first Ally to offer offensive cyber capability to Nato, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace pointed out during yesterday’s video conference of NATO defence ministers intended to focus on adaptation of the Alliance to counter modern threats. Other topics covered ranged from the coronavirus pandemic to Russia’s missile capabilities.
He added that work continues at pace to progress NATO’s agenda to adapt and modernise to meet the threats of an increasingly unstable world, as agreed at the London Leaders’ Meeting last December.
Ministers discussed a new deterrence and defence concept for NATO, which sets out a framework for the Alliance’s military activity in response to threats across land, air, sea and in the new domains of cyber and space.
Wallace also praised the progress NATO has made in adapting to today’s emerging challenges such as hybrid warfare and disruptive technologies.
The Defence Secretary confirmed that the UK will continue to meet its two percent of GDP defence-spending commitment and the UK’s defence budget will grow by at least 0.5 percent above inflation in each year of this Government. All Allies pledged to meet the two percent target by 2024 at the Wales Summit in 2014,and defence spending by non-US Allies increased in real terms by 4.6 percent in 2019, the fifth consecutive year of growth.
The previous day the Home Secretary chaired a virtual ‘Five Eyes’ security summit attended by the Home Affairs, Interior and Security Ministers from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US. Among topics raised was the issue of cybercriminals exploiting the coronavirus pandemic through ransomware, malware and phishing attacks. Ministers agreed on the need to share intelligence around these kinds of scams and work closely to stop them.