Cybertronian consciousness

Cybertronian consciousness

The U.S. fears of cyber attacks, but refuse to deal with them together with Russia.

As it became known “Kommersant”, Russia has offered the United States cooperation in preventing cyber attacks on critical infrastructure (power stations, control systems water supply and transport, hospitals, banks and so on). The relevant provision was included in the joint statement of the presidents of the two countries, prepared by the Russian party to the adoption at the summit in Helsinki. Moreover, Moscow offered Washington to make a point about the inadmissibility of “destabilizing actions against domestic political processes, including elections.” Washington, however, these initiatives refused.

That Moscow offered Washington to cooperate for the prevention of computer sabotage of the critical infrastructure of the two countries, “Kommersant” was told by two well-informed source from the Russian side and confirmed one American. According to interlocutors “Kommersant”, this topic was discussed by officials of the Russian Federation and the United States in preparation for the first full-scale summit between presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald trump, held on 16 July in Helsinki.

The point about the need for cooperation in the field of critical infrastructure protection was included in the draft two-page joint statement of the heads of States, prepared by the Russian side.

That such a document is planned to offer to the signing of the two presidents, shortly before the meeting in Helsinki was told by the assistant of Vladimir Putin, Yuri Ushakov. He explained that the document had to be “outlined further steps of the parties and in terms of improving bilateral relations and joint action in the international arena” (see “Kommersant” of 9 July).

According to sources “Kommersant”, the draft statement among a number of other initiatives have included an item on collaboration in cyberspace.

In it, in particular, it was offered “to guide the work of a responsible American and Russian state bodies for the adoption of the joint and parallel measures to prevent destabilizing actions in relation to critical infrastructure” between the two countries. “Critical infrastructure” refers to the objects and scope, from whose smooth operation affects the health, safety and welfare of the citizens. Attacks on such infrastructure can lead to substantial humanitarian and economic harm.

To critical infrastructure typically include government authorities, power plants and nuclear power plants, water systems and transport management, hospitals, financial sector and so on.

Recall that in 2013, the Russian Federation and the United States signed the world’s first package of intergovernmental agreements on confidence-building measures in information space. Documents, in particular, provided for the establishment of “hot line” to prevent the threat of cyber incidents from escalating into serious conflicts. For the first time the hot line was used during the winter Olympics 2014 in Sochi, in respect of the critical infrastructure of the Russian Federation was taken by a powerful cyber attack and Russian experts suspect that the attackers are from the United States. What the objects were attacked, has not been reported, but the threat thanks to the hot line was quickly cut short. In the framework of the intergovernmental agreements also created multiple channels of information exchange.

In Moscow, however, initially believed that these agreements are few. In July 2017, in Hamburg, during his first meeting with the new President of the United States Donald trump, Vladimir Putin proposed to continue work on expansion of cooperation in cyberspace. The head of the White house first publicly announced support for this initiative, but later — because of the sharply negative reaction of Congress have abdicated their words.

Failed to make real progress now: first, the U.S. side agreed to consider the outcome of the negotiations in Helsinki joint statement, but then this idea have refused.

The interlocutor of “Kommersant” in the state structures of the USA said: in Washington felt that at this stage the signing of any securities will be “counterproductive”.

Meanwhile, sources of the American newspaper the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) in the administration of the President of the United States recently reported that the Agency develop additional measures to counter hacker attacks against critical infrastructure of the country. First of all it concerns the attacks that are sponsored by the authorities of other States.

A threat to U.S. facilities, according to interlocutors of the edition, are Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

Enhanced protection of critical infrastructure in the United States began to develop in connection with large-scale attacks on energy installations in the country last year. The Department of homeland security (DHS), the United States argues that for 2017, the hacker group known as Energetic Bear and Dragonfly, penetrated the control system of several hundred U.S. companies that service the energy system of the whole country.

As of the publication of the WSJ, the group connected with the Russian authorities.

Hackers, according to DHS, got hold of information about the principles of operation of the infrastructure and had the opportunity to disconnect supply of energy to consumers. According to the Ministry, the attacks continue and still, as the WSJ sources report that in June of this year, advisers Donald trump seriously discussed a plan of action in case of cyber attacks, the country will undergo a “catastrophic outage”.

Meanwhile, both Russia and the USA to critical infrastructure include including electronic resources related to the elections. According to “Kommersant”, the draft statement of the presidents also contained a proposal to adopt a “joint action for unacceptable use of cyberspace to destabilize the internal political processes, including elections.”

Recall that American legislators and security services have accused Russia of meddling in the U.S. presidential election, carried out just with the help of cyber technology. A few days before the summit in Helsinki, the us sources told “Kommersant”: it is crucial for Washington to Moscow at least has given guarantees of non-interference in scheduled for November midterm elections in the U.S. Congress, and ideally anyway would admit its involvement in attempts to influence the presidential elections of 2016 (when all respondents “b” was convinced that an acknowledgment of the Kremlin will not do). However, as we now clarify the sources of “Kommersant” on joint steps to prevent interference in future elections Moscow was ready. Not ready to provide the Washington.

Elena Chernenko Ekaterina Mareeva