Russia prepares to prevent possible US cyber-attacks

Following the US announcements that it is planning to retaliate for presumed Russian hacking of the DNC, Russia says it is making preparations to mitigate the impact of any such attack, while suggesting the US has more to lose.

US Cyber Command - ready to retaliate?
US Cyber Command - ready to retaliate?

Russia is reported to be designing a package of measures aimed at preventing possible cyber-attacks from the US. The move is a response to recent statements by US vice-president Joseph Baiden about US plans to provide an adequate response to Russia in cyberspace, following attacks on the Democratic Party headquarters.

Sergei Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the US, told SCMagazineUK.com that the US government has not yet provided any evidence that the cyber-attacks on the DNC were organised by Russian hackers. Meanwhile, Yuri Ushakov, the Russian presidential aide, says Russia has already begun designing protective measures.

Ushakov says that the threats from Baiden could be considered as a pure rudeness, especially as they refer to specific individuals in the Russian government.

The planned measures have not been disclosed, however, according to the press-service of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), they may involve increasing cyber-security on the e-mail servers and databases of Russian special services including the FSB, Foreign Intelligence Service and the Russian Military Intelligence.

Particular attention will be also paid to strengthening cyber-security on internal networks and correspondence by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as, according to FSB, hackers will try their best to locate and then publish details about any cooperation by the Russian government with various political regimes and organisations that are under international sanctions or accused of war crimes.

Anton Tretyakov, deputy director of IT Plus company, a Russian developer of anti-virus programs, told SC that the planned state measures may include more active replacement of software, supplied by Western vendors, by domestic products, whose development is currently underway.

Tretyakov also added that the same applies to hardware, with most such equipment used at strategic Russian military and civilian infrastrucure having  Western origin, and thus which the Russian government plans to replace with domestic alternatives.

According to Tretyakov, it is possible that the attacks could include infecting the computer systems of Russia's critical infrastructure using malicious programs, similar to those used to close down the Iranian nuclear program when the attacks (using the Stuxnet worm) resulted in the sabotage of uranium enrichment at the nuclear power plant in Natanz.

However, Ivan Beregovoy, a senior IT engineer of CyberZahita, a Russian developer of IT solutions, suggests that the US is unlikely to conduct massive cyber-attacks on Russia's critical infrastructure due to its own vulnerability to such attacks, taking into account high level of computerisation within US business (compared to Russia) and the potential losses that could occur as a result of a Russia-US cyber-war.

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