Putin’s war on UK: Huge increase in attacks as Britain struggles to cope

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said it tackled a record number of cyber incidents in the UK throughout 2021. Out of all the incidents reports, a majority were ransomware attacks originating from Russia.

The NCSC, part of GCHQ, said they saw a 7.5 percent rise in cyber incidents in the year up to August 2021, for a record high total of 777.

Paul Chichester, director of operations, said that “ransomware has certainly dominated a significant portion of year” and that the hacking epidemic had become “global as a story in the last 12 months”.

In it’s annual review, the NCSC added that a number of the incidents were linked to hostile states, including Russia and China.

This included a global hacking campaign known as the SolarWinds breach, which was regarded as “one of the most serious cyber intrusions of recent times” and blamed on Russia’s foreign intelligence service.

Another major incident, linked to a Chinese state-backed actor, involved an attack on Microsoft.

Sir Jeremy Fleming, the director of GCHQ, described them both in the review as “two of the most serious global cyber incidents we’ve seen in recent years”.

Central government and the UK public sector do not pay cyber ransoms, although fixing the damage can take months.

NCSC officials added however they had no power to prevent the payment of ransoms – often around £1 million a time – by businesses to hackers, even though doing so ensured the criminal activity continued.

It comes after former MI6 official Christopher Steele said Russia’s leaders believe they are “at war” with the UK and its allies.

He said: “There are serious people at the top of Russia who regard themselves at war with us.

“The fact that our politicians neither want to recognise or deal with that is a big problem.”

The outgoing head of the UK’s armed forces also warned Britain must be prepared for war with Russia.


Gen Sir Nick Carter said Russia is now a greater threat in eastern Europe than it was when he started in the role eight years ago.

He told Sky News’s Trevor Phillips: “Russia probably regards the global strategic context as a continuous struggle in which, I think, they would apply all the instruments of national power to achieve their objectives.

“But in so doing, [the Russians] don’t want to bring on a hot war. So, yes, in a way I think [Christopher Steele] right.

“The question, of course, is how you define war and I, as a soldier, would tend to define war as the actual act of combat and fighting, and I don’t think they want that.

“I think they want to try and achieve their objective in rather more nuanced ways.”

It also comes as the UK and Ukraine finalised a treaty that will enable Kiev to seek loans from London to buy British warships and missiles.

Ukraine is looking to spend £1.7 billion on two minehunters, the joint production of eight missile ships and a frigate as well as the purchase of weapons for existing vessels.

Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, and his Ukrainian counterpart, Oleksii Yuriyovych Reznikov, said in a joint statement: “Our governments have no desire to be adversarial, or seek in any way to strategically encircle or undermine the Russian Federation.”

However the pair also added: “We are concerned by Russia’s military build-up and activity around the borders of Ukraine.

“Ukraine’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity is indisputable.”

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