Russia launches dedicated anti-hacking center for defense industry

© Vadim Zhernov
Russian state-run weapons corporation Rostec has set up a special center for countering cyber-attacks on all Russian defense enterprises and companies, a popular daily reports.

Rostec’s director for data security, Aleksandr Yevteyev, told Izvestia that the new structure will be called the ‘Corporate Center for Detection, Prevention and Liquidation of Consequences of Computer Attacks’.

The main purpose of the center is to detect attempts to break into data networks of Russian defense enterprises and cut off data arrays in order to prevent information leaks. After this, the data security specialists would pass all information on the attempted hacking to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).

Yevteyev also said that the new system will start working with purely defense enterprises, such as the Unified Instrument-Building Corporation, Helicopters of Russia, High-Precision Complexes and the Unified Engine Building Corporation. The first stage of the system will be completed before the end of 2017.

Over the past few years, Russian authorities have taken considerate measures to protect the nation’s data facilities and networks from leaks and attacks. In mid-2014 Russian introduced the federal law that obliges all internet companies collecting personal information from Russian citizens to store that data inside the country. The sponsors of the bill reason that it will prevent foreign states from misusing Russian citizens’ personal data and strengthen Russia’s national security. They also said the new law accords with the current European policy of legally protecting online personal data.

In July this year, President Vladimir Putin signed into law a set of anti-terrorist amendments that contained the obligation for communication companies, including internet providers, to retain information about their clients’ data traffic for three years (one year for messengers and social networks) and also to keep actual records of phone calls, messages and transferred files for six months.

Despite these steps, attempts to disrupt important Russian data networks continue. Also in July, the FSB reported that computer systems in about 20 Russian state defense, scientific and other high-profile organizations had been infected with malware used for cyberespionage.

The agency said that all the cases are linked and appear to be part of a well-coordinated attack requiring considerable expertise. The coding of the malware and vectors of attack are similar to those used in previous cyber-offensive operations against targets in Russia and other nations, the report stated.

The agency did not specify which party it suspects to be behind the reported cyber espionage or whether it was sponsored by any foreign government.