Theresa May will urge EU leaders meeting in Brussels to create a new sanctions regime to crack down on governments found responsible for cyber-attacks.
Amid growing fears about Russian meddling in foreign elections, including in Europe, and attempted cyber-attacks, most recently on the chemical weapons watchdog in the Netherlands, the prime minister will call on her fellow leaders to take tougher action.
“Individual efforts to protect ourselves, and to call out irresponsible behaviour, are not enough,” she is expected to say. “Malign cyber activity causes harm to our economies, and undermines our democracies. As well as protecting ourselves against attack, we must impose proportionate consequences on those who would do us harm.”
The Dutch and British governments published details this month of an attempted Russian cyber-attack on the international chemical weapons watchdog, the OPCW.
The incident, which was thwarted with the help of British intelligence officials, came after the Sandworm cybercrime unit of the GRU had attempted unsuccessfully to hack the UK Foreign Office in March and the Porton Down chemical weapons facility in April.