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1 Aug, 2013 09:46

Russia to press for international internet behavior code to fight emerging threats

Russia to press for international internet behavior code to fight emerging threats

The new cyber security doctrine signed by President Vladimir Putin outlines cyber attacks as a major threat to international security and suggests to fight it with a special international body to manage the web.

The document that was signed by the president last week had been prepared by a panel of specialists from state agencies and ministries, including the Ministries for Interior Affairs, Defense, Justice and Communications, the Kommersant daily reported. The newspaper also quoted its unnamed sources as saying that the doctrine was prepared, at least partially, in reply to the International Strategy for Cyberspace approved by the United States in 2011.

The main threats mentioned in the doctrine were internet technology as an “informational weapon used for military-political, terrorist and criminal ends” as well as attempts of “intervention into other nations’ internal affairs”.

The last threat is Russia’s own input into the international discussion over the issue. According to Kommersant’s sources, the authorities focused on this problem after the Arab Spring events that again demonstrated the potential of the internet and especially the social networks in launching and directing mass actions and street protests.

According to Kommersant’s sources, the Russian doctrine is much more peaceful than the US strategy that equaled cyber attacks to conventional warfare and declared the US military would react to them accordingly, using all means, including nuclear weapons.

Moscow’s approach emphasizes the strengthening of international cooperation and preventive regulative measures that would stop the attacks from happening. The proposed measures include the approval of the UN convention on international cyber security and developing “internationally accepted rules of behavior in cyber space”. Russia also wants to develop an international system of managing the internet and impose an international law that would “prevent the proliferation of the informational weapons”.

The two latter initiatives replicate the earlier suggestions to make the control of the world wide web accessible to all nations, contrary to the current situation when it is managed mainly by the US-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The doctrine stresses that Moscow is not pursuing tougher government intervention, but instead relies on a dialogue and gradual developing of mutual trust.

The recently signed Russia-US bilateral agreement on prevention of cyber-incidents developing into interstate conflict is described as a typical example of such positive cooperation. Now Russia intends to sign similar agreements with other countries. 

The Russian doctrine also states that the initial stages of international cooperation should be started together with allied nations – members of the CSTO and SCO as well as the BRICS countries.

Russia’s top strategic body – the Security Council – and main security agencies are now expected to provide the president with their suggestions on particular measures to enforce the doctrine.