US, Russian officials to meet this week on cyber-security issues, State Dept.

US and Russian officials will meet this week in Geneva to discuss cyber-security issues, according to a State Department official.
US and Russian officials will meet this week in Geneva to discuss cyber-security issues, according to a State Department official.

US and Russian officials will meet this week in Geneva to discuss cyber-security issues, a State Department official told SCMagazine.com.

“This meeting is not a restart of the Bilateral Presidential Commission working group, but it is in our interest to discuss cyber-security issues with Russia, including to review the 2013 Bilateral US-Russia Cyber Confidence Building Measures,” the official stated in an email.

“We meet periodically with Russia on cyber issues and such other core national security issues as counterterrorism,” the official added.

Last month, SCMagazineUK.com reported that the two nations plan to re-start stalled cyber-security cooperation, including revisiting the 2013 bilateral agreements.

Following cyber-attacks against the Ukrainian power grid were attributed to Russian hackers, potential risks posed by cyber escalation has gained greater attention, particularly among lawmakers. However, the State Department has been working to achieve greater consensus around global cyber norms since long before the December 2015 attacks.

In January, State Department coordinator for cyber issues Chris Painter told SCMagazine.com that the State Department has been working to encourage greater consensus of cyber norms similar to those agreed to at the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey in November. The priorities include reciprocity – a commitment that any response will be proportional – and the use of the internet as a venue for free expression and free commerce.

Last month, Secretary of State John Kerry met with Russian Foreign Minister Segrei Lavrov. At a joint press conference with Lavrov referred to the arrest of Russian hackers who were arrested outside of Russia by countries that have signed extradition agreements with the US. “Russia would be the last country to cooperate in stopping the cyber-crime,” he said at the joint conference. “So we believe that our proposal to activate the expert consultations between our prosecutor general's office and the ministry of justice of the US on the practical issues of cooperation in stopping the cyber-crime, and we hope that the US would support this idea.”

Notable Russian hackers including Roman Seleznev and Vadim Polyakov were arrested in 2014 and subsequently extradited to the US from the countries in which they were arrested. Another Russian hacker, Vladimir Drinkman, was arrested in Amsterdam in 2012 and charged in a US federal court in February 2015. Russia does not have an extradition treaty with the US.