CSTO grapples with cyber security

The work on information counteraction is one of the top priorities of the CSTO (RIA Novosti / Valery Melnikov)
The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a military bloc consisting of former Soviet republics, is preparing answers to modern challenges, including cyber crimes.

­The CSTO has been developing measures to counter cyber threats, the organization’s Secretary General Nikolay Bordyuzha said during a video conference on Monday. He described this threat as one of the major problems that all of the member states – Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – are facing.  

“No military contingents or groups of gunmen are needed to destabilize the situation in this or that state when information technologies are at their disposal,” the official said.

This is what’s happening, Bordyuzha warned, while explaining why the work on information counteraction is one of the top priorities of the CSTO. He recalled that the bloc has been conducting security operations in cyber space for a long time. The fight against crime in the information realm is continuing, including those against websites that threaten states and are used for the sake of destabilization. 

But despite these measures, “a system-based approach” has not been developed as of yet, the secretary general admitted. He promised that high-level experts will prepare relevant recommendations by December on how to step up efforts and “make it systemic.”  

The issue was on the agenda of the CSTO informal summit that took place in the Kazakh capital Astana at the end of last week. According to the current chairman of the bloc, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko, “many new goals” appeared in light of recent upheavals in the Arab world. The CSTO leaders agreed to work out measures to fight potential threats in the information sphere and cyber space.

Cyber security also remains one of priorities of the Russian foreign policy. In July, Moscow suggested that a UN convention to fight cyber crimes should be developed as the current regulations in this area are outdated.

Russia’s partners have admitted that these initiatives are urgent said Ilya Rogachev, head of the Foreign Ministry’s Department responsible for handling new challenges and threats. Currently, a glossary explaining various conceptions of cyber crimes is in the making.

The problems, however, remain in the dialogue with the United States in this area. Washington has been actively busy in recent times developing its own security system in cyber space.