Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will use a speech to warn that hostile state actors and criminal gangs are using technology to undermine the “foundations of our society and democracy”.
Mr Raab is expected to warn that cyber attacks pose a real risk on a daily basis and will call out malicious operators, while calling for a coalition of countries to “shape the international rules”.
In his keynote speech at at the National Cyber Security Centre’s CyberUK conference on Wednesday, the Foreign Secretary will conclude there is a need to clarify how rules around cyber activity are enforced.
He is expected to say the aim should be to “create a cyberspace that is free, open, peaceful and secure” and to secure a wider agreement on how to respond to states committing malicious cyber attacks.
Mr Raab is due to tell the conference: “The clash of values… is playing out today between the countries that want to protect and preserve a system based on open and outward-looking societies, and those promoting an authoritarian international system.
“We can see this clash between authoritarian and democratic states playing out very directly, right now, in cyberspace.
“Hostile state actors and criminal gangs want to undermine the foundations of our society and democracy.
“And let’s be clear, when states like Russia have criminals operating from their territory they have a responsibility to prosecute, not shelter them.”
Mr Raab will also tell the conference that around 80 schools, colleges or universities were hit by ransomware attacks in March, which forced some to delay returning to the classroom amid the pandemic.
He will add: “That’s why we are working to help organisations across the UK to protect themselves.”