In a sign that the two countries are attempting to avert some type of Cold War cyberwar-style, the US and Russia have entered into talks over military action in cyberspace according to the New York Times. With cyberweaponry becoming a reality and attacks on government computers increasing, news of such talks makes a lot of sense.
The two countries also plan to discuss Internet security, which obviously would be important to keeping government servers safer. Talks began last month, and continued publicly through a UN security conference held a few weeks ago in Geneva. There is disagreement on how it should be handled: the Russians think cybersecurity could best be dealt with through treaties, where the US says the nature of cyberspace requires a more fluid approach.
Russia says that the US is moving towards its position, however NYT sources say that is a mischaracterization. Either way, both sides acknowledge that there is movement which is a departure from the years of the Bush Administration.
Bush refused to talk to the Russians on the topic, and it probably had something to do with the fact that the US is one of the countries developing cyberweapons. The Russians have been insisting on a “cyberterrorism ban” however, which has been characterized by the US as a restriction of free speech. This could have been another reason why Bush and Co. would not talk.
While Russia is obviously nowhere near the superpower that it was in the days of the USSR, seeing the two sides sitting down on this topic is quite heartening. Cybercrime is on the rise, and its only a matter of time before our wars begin to be fought not only on the battlefield but on the Internet as well.
Those interested in waging war know that in our ever-more-connected society, attacking the Internet is a smart strategy. It is essential in my opinion that governments start working together in order to cut this off at the pass, which will have much greater benefits further down the road for sure.