In addition, Britain will step up the extent of intelligence it shares with like-minded democratic nations to alert them when their networks and systems have been compromised.
Mr Raab said: “We want to work with our partners – it’s a shared interest and, frankly, a shared enemy that is conducting these appalling attacks.”
Ransomware a growing concern
His intervention came days after two schools in Kent were forced to close following a ransomware attack, in which hackers broke into the schools’ servers and encrypted pupil information. Such assaults were “beyond the pale”, he warned, adding: “The UK will take the fight to cyber criminals who are extorting businesses, schools and hospitals.”
Highlighting the widespread and growing problem of ransomware, he went on: “We’ve had a series of ransomware attacks targeted at hospitals in Germany, schools in the UK, the US had a pipeline attacked, which has had a huge impact on the economy.
“So that’s a new area where I think the relationship between the US and UK can really lead globally.”
Britain and the US would discuss “how international law applies to those cyber attacks” and how to force a given state to punish malign cyber actors if they were operating within its jurisdiction.
Serving notice to the Kremlin that he had Moscow’s role in cyber attacks firmly in view, Mr Raab said: “Russia is a serial offender, but also we’ve seen it from Iran, China and others, and the confluence of state and non-state activities or criminal gangs, often for profit, but doing it with the umbrella of support from some of those states.”
He added that “the UK and the US will collaborate very closely,” while also looking to “bring in other countries”.
The Foreign Secretary is hoping to shape international law, with Britain aiming to take a leading role at the United Nations and G20 on the issue.
At present, only the UK, US and EU levy cyber sanctions – and these are not coordinated, although a push to align them is expected.
Mr Raab spoke to The Telegraph straight before joining Boris Johnson for bilateral talks with Mr Biden. Britain must show the US that it was a “dependable ally” and “demonstrate the value we add” on tech, cyber, defence and intelligence, the Foreign Secretary said.
US delivers rebuke over Northern Ireland Protocol
The meeting came after it emerged that the most senior American diplomat in the UK was ordered to issue an extraordinary formal rebuke to the Government for allegedly imperilling the peace process in Northern Ireland over Brexit.
The Foreign Secretary insisted the “Northern Ireland Protocol itself is the threat” to peace. Signalling the strength of the Government’s feeling on the issue, he declared that the territorial, economic and constitutional integrity of the UK was “not up for negotiation or haggling”.
However, Mr Raab defended the right of the US to weigh in on the row over the Northern Ireland Protocol negotiated as part of Brexit, which has sparked disruption to the flow of food, plants and other goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Issues surrounding the protocol have led to increasingly febrile wrangling between the UK and EU.
“We recognise the long-standing US interests as one of the architects of the Good Friday Agreement and the work of George Mitchell, the work of all of those US diplomats and indeed leaders. So I don’t think we need to be overly sensitive about it,” he said.
The alliance between the UK and US was in an “excellent state” and there was no need to be “too hung up on labels” like the “special relationship” to describe it, he added. Boris Johnson recently declared he disliked the term, branding it needy and weak.
Quizzed about the drastic changes in the White House since Donald Trump’s departure, the Foreign Secretary welcomed Mr Biden’s decision to return the US to the Paris Agreement on climate change and to the World Health Organisation, as well as his robust support for Nato.
“We’re more likely to effectively deliver what we want to in terms of the security of our peoples, in terms of dealing with climate change on a global level, in terms of dealing with this pandemic – it’s more likely to be effective if we work together,” he said.