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Domestic Cyber-resilience

Volume 721: debated on Thursday 27 October 2022

8. What steps the Government are taking to strengthen domestic cyber-resilience against potential impacts from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (901886)

Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is illegal, barbaric and will not stand. My hon. Friend is right that we face a heightened security threat, and the Cabinet Office and the National Cyber Security Centre play a key role in meeting that. Building on the commitments in the national cyber strategy, we are running a campaign of public warnings and guidance, and we have undertaken significant outreach across critical national infrastructure to keep businesses and individuals safe.

At the beginning of this terrible and illegal attack on Ukraine by Russia, a cyber-attack saw many Ukrainian Government websites go down. Has a full analysis been completed of the tactics used, and are we confident that we could now defend against those tactics if they were used against us?

My hon. Friend is entirely right to raise that. As she will appreciate, work is ongoing literally 24 hours a day by the Cabinet Office and relevant agencies. Before and since Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, the UK Government and our allies have attributed a number of cyber-attacks on Ukraine to the Russian Government. All that is of course based on expert technical analysis, and that work is tireless and ongoing.

I warmly welcome the Minister and the rest of the team to their posts. I disagree with him, however, about one thing: the invasion did not start this year; it started in 2014. Every time we say that it started recently, we forget that we were not robust enough in 2014, which was one of the things that emboldened Putin. One tactic of Putin and his team is the targeting individual politicians in this country. How safe is it, therefore, for the Home Secretary to have been using a separate and unsecure email address? Does that not need to be addressed?

I will start on a point of agreement with the hon. Gentleman. First, I welcome his kind words. He is entirely right to point out that this whole episode began at least with the invasion of Crimea in 2014. Arguably, it began even before that, in terms of Russian aggression. I am sure that he was in the House yesterday and will have heard the Prime Minister, and indeed my hon. Friend the Paymaster General, addressing exactly this point, but I am happy to reiterate that the Home Secretary accepted that she made errors of judgment in her conduct. She recognised that, accepted her mistake, apologised and resigned. I think that that was an appropriate course of action.