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.
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.
“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”, - said Prime Minister of UK Boris Johnson.