Russia hopes to get tough on cyber attacks

Feb 4, 2013
One Comment

The Russian government has announced plans to beef up the state’s cyber security.  Although specifics of the plan have yet to be laid out, the Kremlin has said it’s first step will be to consolidate authority for fighting the problem under the nation’s internal security agency.

On 15 January President Vladimir Putin shifted the responsibility of securing the informational infrastructure of both state agencies and diplomatic offices abroad to the Federal Security Service (FSB), the country’s counter-intelligence and counter-terrorism agency, Russia Beyond the Headlines reports. Previously combating and investigating cyber attacks was done by the Ministry of Interior.

Russian authorities say that cyber attacks now pose a significant state-security concern and a new approach is urgently needed. That is presumably why the duty was shifted to the FSB, according to The agency possesses wider range of means and is potentially more efficient in this field than the ministry of internal affairs.

The envisaged system would be set up to detect, prevent and respond to computer attacks, writes RIA Novosti. Unlike to the existing systems, security will be spread not only on the state agencies, but also to private websites. According to the decree all the websites hosted inRussia belong to the informational system of Russian Federation and thus will be under the anti-attack shield.

Nikolay Kovalev, deputy and former FSB head, noted that the Russian state bodies are under daily cyber attacks from the overseas. He said that the highest number of virus-contaminated computers used for the attacks came from within the U.S.and China, according to RIA Novosti.

But given the ambitious nature of the project, experts predict substantial impediments to its success. Alexandr Lyamin, CEO of Russian cyber-security company Highloadlab, told RIA Novosti that the Russian market currently lacks state-of-art cyber technologies to carry out envisaged tasks. This automatically means adaptation of foreign products what might have dubious results.

On the other hand the new decree creates a window of opportunity for Russian businesses. “We have had examples of this kind in Europe. The authorities came up with an initiative that drove the cyber-security market, where companies not only develop systems to prevent cyber attacks but also provide security advice,” Nemanja Nikitovic, managing of Optima Infosecurity, told RBTH.

The move to tighten the government’s control over the Internet came into focus last year with the passing of the Internet blacklist law. The Russian Parliament is also considering more legislation. Earlier in 2012 Russian deputy, Robert Shlegel, said that the State Duma planed to finish a complex law on Internet by the end of April 2013. “The are a lot of gaps in the legislation. But we want to make a canvas embracing all aspects of the Internet, instead of numerous patches,”  Interfax reports.


Front page photo courtesy Flickr user FutUndBeitl. Creative Commons.

About the Author

Anna Novosad

Anna is an editorial intern at Transitions Online.
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