Experts in the US argue what will be the response to cyber attacks organized by the Kremlin
A report by the American intelligence services, accusing the authorities of Russia in the organization of a series of hacker attacks and attempts to influence the election campaign in the United States, caused a strong reaction in the expert community. Prior to the publication of rassekrechen part of the document, many cyber security experts publicly stated that the intelligence services failed to provide the public with a sufficient number of “technical evidence” to support the charges.
The experts of the Atlantic Council, however, the position of the skeptics do not share. “On the basis of their professional experience, we consider this information trustworthy, and, moreover, believe that this time, intelligence agencies have provided the public much more information than usual”, – said during a round table organized by the Recearch center, Director of the initiative for the Atlantic Council cyberbrain Joshua Corman (Joshua Corman, a Cyber Statecraft Initiative).
According to experts, the US administration is more likely to be to blame or attempts to conceal information, and delayed and “too cautious” response to Moscow’s actions.
“We are faced with the leader of a world power that seeks to weaken the U.S. position in the world, to undermine the unity of NATO and the European Union”, – said the Director of the Center for the study of Eurasia, former US Ambassador in Uzbekistan and to Ukraine John Herbst (John Herbst, Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center).
The diplomat recalled that the recent cyberattack on the servers of the political parties of the USA are not something unique. Exactly the same tactics the Russian authorities used in 2007, when the conflict over the transfer of the Estonian authorities, the monument “Bronze soldier” to a new location caused a real collapse in computer networks of different institutions in Tallinn, which was unable to withstand the barrage of hacker break-ins. A few years later, a similar attack almost led to disaster in Ukraine, when the result of a cyber attack temporarily out of order equipment in power plant “Dnipro”.
“The United States then did not react on any attack on its ally in NATO, Estonia or the attacks on Ukraine, – said Ambassador Herbst. – Now we, too, waited too long to answer, not even trying to stop the Russians, and again gave them full freedom of action.”
The expert of the Atlantic Council Kenneth Wells (Kenneth Geers), however, believes that to stop foreign criminals will not be too easy. “If you manage anything like a serious company or enterprise, sooner or later will be attacked by international hackers, he says. – Even if we are talking about individuals, not the attackers in the civil service, they almost always have the full security. They operate in a foreign jurisdiction, do not harm “their”, so the attacks will continue regardless of the actions of the authorities”.
Another problem is “very low security” most of computer networks in the United States and in other countries. The high level of development of cyber technologies makes the country especially vulnerable to hackers. “The United States now is the most dependent on computer networks state in the world, and these networks are almost not protected, says Joshua Corman. – If you look at the technical details of these attacks, you will understand that we are faced with a simple set of techniques that is available, even a novice computer fraud. But even these basic techniques proved to be successful.”
According to the expert, if in private business in the United States has long paid close attention to computer security issues, the situation in the public sector “simply deplorable”. “In one fairly large financial companies, for example, issues of cybersecurity deals with 2 000 employees, and in the year it is allocated almost 60 million dollars, he said. But at the same time in hospitals and clinics simply no no such staff, and to ensure the security of digital networks, there is simply no one”.
Former Deputy Minister of internal security of the United States Jane Ljuta (Jane Hall Lute), who now heads the Council on cyber security (Council on CyberSecurity) believes that the answer to actions of the Russian hackers should be to develop a code of conduct on digital networks, and to make these rules needs not only civil servants. “Now everywhere there are calls to charge it to the Pentagon or the national security Agency, but no military intervention will not solve the problem, she says. – Attempts of hacking will continue, but you can stop them, if we adopt the General rules for all “tiberghien”, define which messages cannot be opened in the workplace, for example, and visit some of the sites are under a complete ban.”
John Herbst, in turn, is convinced that protection against cyber attacks and the search for an effective response to actions of the Russian authorities still must deal with the state, moreover, that to find a common language in atoti sphere of the United States and Russia is unlikely.
“When we here in the West, talking about computer security, we believe this is a purely technical problem, explained the former Ambassador. – But Russian is a much broader concept: anti-Putin blog on the Internet, e.g., in their opinion, may pose a serious threat to national security”.
According to John Herbst, the basis for a strategy to counter “Russian hackers” can be taken the ideology of “nuclear deterrence” to prove, according to the former Ambassador, its effectiveness. And the answer should be as rigid and personalized.
“We need to publish information on financial linkages, personal accounts and business interests of Vladimir Putin in the West – listed Herbst. – Should adopt a rule that the only response to a cyber attack on any infrastructure in the United States or on the territory of our NATO allies can only be a retaliatory cyber attack on the same facilities on the territory of Russia”.
Some experts have already expressed concerns that such a strategy will inevitably lead to a series of retaliatory actions of the Kremlin, and further escalation that could play out between the two powers, threatens the start of the first global cyberwar.
Jane Ljuta recognizes that such risk really exists, but argues that such confrontation of the Russian leadership are not so strong.
“Cyberspace is a territory of democracy, not autocracy, she said, answering the question of “voice of America”. In digital networks dictators are more vulnerable than Western leaders. I’m sure Putin is afraid of cyberspace, and disclosure of personal information can be a very effective step.”