Putin threat: UK on red alert for ‘attack’ from Russia as security measures beefed-up

Russia: Europe ‘on the backfoot’ says expert

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Home Secretary Priti Patel yesterday hinted at potential tit-for-tat strikes against Russia if they attack first. She said: “As we monitor developments, we will be especially mindful of the potential for cyber attacks and disinformation emanating from Russia. “Be in no doubt there is work ongoing across Government 24/7 to maximise our resilience to any such attacks, which would be met with a suitably robust response.”

The National Cyber Force, a partnership between GCHQ, MI6 and the Ministry of Defence, is in the front line of the high-tech, electronic war.

Assisted by specialists from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, the NCF is tasked with “operating in and through cyberspace to counter threats, disrupting and contesting those who would do harm to the UK and its allies,” says the Government.

The force, set up in 2020 and based in Lancashire, uses “cutting edge espionage” and other techniques, to counter and neutralise cyber threats.

A new National Cyber Strategy was launched last December, as the Ukraine crisis loomed, and aimed to strengthen Britain’s “offensive and defensive capabilities.”

Cabinet Minister Steve Barclay assured MPs Britain has the capacity and ability to deal with Russian cyber attacks.

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said a lot of businesses across the UK are concerned” about cyber threats.

She added: “The tragic events of this morning shows there’s no space or excuses or justification when it comes to Putin’s continued influence in UK democracy and national infrastructure.”

Yesterday, banking giant Lloyds revealed it was on “heightened alert” for cyber attacks from Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.

Chief Executive Charlie Nunn said preparations were discussed in a meeting between the Government and banking industry leaders on Wednesday,

“We’ve been on heightened alert… internally around our cyber risk controls and we’ve been focused on this now for quite a while,” he said.

As primarily UK-focused, Nunn said Lloyds was not very exposed directly to Russia but had nonetheless been checking its controls and preparing for stricter sanctions.

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