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UK pledges £15m to Commonwealth cyber security as threat of attack grows

File photo dated 07/08/13 of the Palace of Westminster, which contains the House of Commons and the House of Lords, in London, as support for House of Lords reform is predicted to increase if peers obstruct or delay Brexit, new research claims. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday February 20, 2017. An ICM survey for Change Britain, which campaigns on the terms of Brexit, found 43% of respondents are more likely to back abolition or reform compared to 12% who are less likely in such circumstances. See PA story POLITICS Brexit Poll. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Britain is to commit £15 million to help Commonwealth nations strengthen their cyber defences in the face of the growing threat of attack from hostile states and criminal groups.

The package, announced by Theresa May at the start of theCommonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm) in London includes £5.5 million to enable low and middle income member states to conduct national cyber capability reviews before the next gathering in 2020.

The move comes after Britain and the US issued an unprecedented joint alert about the threat of "malicious cyber activity" by Russia, warning that "millions" of computers around the world had been targeted by Kremlin-backed actors.

The Prime Minister said: "Cyber security affects us all, as online crime does not respect international borders.

"I have called on Commonwealth leaders to take action and to work collectively to tackle this threat.

"Our package of funding will enable members to review their cyber security capability, and deliver the stability and resilience that we all need to stay safe online and grow our digital economies."

Mrs May is due to hold an "intelligence partners" meeting on Wednesday with Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, New Zealand's Jacinda Ardern and Canada's Justin Trudeau - the other members of the so-called "Five Eyes" group along with the US.