Cybercrime: Bahrain

Home Office written question – answered at on 20 February 2023.

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Photo of Kenny MacAskill Kenny MacAskill Alba, East Lothian

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps the Government is taking to protect UK (a) nationals and (b) residents from cyberattacks and malicious hacking through the use of spyware by the Government of Bahrain.

Photo of Thomas Tugendhat Thomas Tugendhat Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)

The UK’s National Cyber Strategy commits us to countering the proliferation of high-end cyber capabilities and reducing the opportunity for states and organised crime groups to access them via commercial and criminal marketplaces, as well as tackling forums that enable, facilitate, or glamorise cyber criminality.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) does not routinely avow details of its assessments of the capabilities of foreign governments. However, the cyber security of individuals and organisations is a high priority for the Government. The government is delivering a strategic programme of work to prevent attacks reaching citizens and organisations at scale. This includes a range of interventions such as identifying and removing malicious websites, building a national data sharing capability to enable industry to block malicious websites and attacks, advising banks of stolen customer credentials to enable them to protect their customers, and work to improve the resilience of UK telecoms networks.

Opportunities for malicious actors have increased in line with improvements in connectivity and our growing reliance on digital services. At the same time, barriers to entry have fallen, granting those who were formerly unable the capability to conduct attacks. Government is continually learning from these incidents to further refine and improve our defences and incident management processes.

With respect to spyware specifically, it is vital that all cyber capabilities are used in ways that are legal, responsible and proportionate to ensure cyberspace remains a safe and prosperous place for everyone. The UK currently considers public attribution of cyber attacks on a case-by-case basis, and has shown that we attribute malicious cyber activity where we believe it is in the best interests of the UK to do so.

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