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Minister says Russia’s information systems reliably protected from cyberattacks

October 24, 2016, 14:31 UTC+3 SOCHI

The US TV broadcaster NBC reported earlier that Washington was considering an unprecedentedly powerful cyber-attack against Russia

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© Maxim Shemetov/TASS

SOCHI, October 24. /TASS/. Russia’s critically important information systems are reliably protected from cyberattacks, including from the United States, Russian Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov said on Monday.

The communications minister thus commented on US statements about possible cyberattacks on Russian Internet-resources.

"If we speak about some critical information systems - the work of the system of state authorities, such facilities as nuclear power plants, the facilities of our defense, security and all other structures, believe me, they are reliably protected," the communications minister said.

The minister said, however, that there could be no 100% protection.

"Protection is never a final process. Each day, attack means develop further and each day this is a constant process of protection," the minister said.

A whole number of structures, including the Interior Ministry, the Federal Security Service, and also specialized structures like state civilian nuclear power corporation Rosatom, are dealing with cyber-security issues "and considerable funds are allocated for these purposes," the minister said.

The US TV broadcaster NBC reported on October 14 that Washington was considering an unprecedentedly powerful cyber-attack against Russia. According to its sources in intelligence agencies, the administration of US President Barack Obama is considering unprecedented secret actions against Russia in the cyber-space in response to what US officials claim is Russia’s interference in the US presidential elections.

On the same day, US Vice-President Josef Biden told NBC that Washington was considering measures against Russia because, as US officials claim, hackers related to Russia interfere in the US presidential campaign.

The Russian communications minister believes that Biden’s statement on possible cyber-attacks on Russian Internet-resources will go down into history.

"This has never happened before in the history of humankind. Probably, there were examples when the leaders of countries threatened each other with a war but we see for the first time such a statement at the level of a vice-president actually on a cyber-attack, a cyber-war. I believe this will go down into history," Nikiforov said.

The Kremlin has numerously rejected its complicity in cyber-attacks. Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said that the US statements on possible cyber-attacks on Russia’s Internet-resources require Russia’s response but generally such unpredictability is dangerous for the entire world.

Smartphone users under threat

A real problem today is that ordinary citizens are unprotected from the possible interference into their life through gadgets with US operational systems, the communications minister said.

"The real problem is that people possess almost 70 million smartphones, for example. All these smartphones are foreign-made and US operational systems are in all these smartphones. Anything possible can be done with these systems. Overnight, smartphones of the entire country can be updated and anything possible will be done inside them," the communications minister said.

The Russian communications minister did not rule out that the US authorities might hypothetically resort to such measures.

"May the government of the United States do this? It may. Will this be in the legal field? Hardly. But, as we have understood from the information, which [former US National Security Agency employee and whistleblower Edward] Snowden disclosed several years ago, when his counterparts wish so very much, they do not look very much at the legal field and far from all their actions are backed by some internal laws, court rulings or the norms of international law," the minister said.

"Honestly speaking, we’re already not surprised at anything in these statements and in these actions, the communications minister said.

Need of IT-market de-monopolization

The above problem can be solved by de-monopolizing the world IT-market, the Russian communications minister said.

This issue will be discussed at a meeting of communications ministers from the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) grouping of major emerging market economies in Bangalore, India, on November 10-11, Nikiforov said.

"It is simply necessary to encourage domestic development products and de-monopolize this market. Can Russia do this alone? No. Can we do this jointly with the BRICS countries? We can do this only together with them and no one else will be able to do this," the Russian communications minister said.

Technological counter-sanctions and bans won’t solve the problem, Nikiforov said.

"Will some technological countersanctions help and should be prohibit anything? I believe this is nonsense. Only certified solutions that have passed a very strict selective procedure are used at critical infrastructure facilities and everything is protected there. As for the mass consumer, no counter-sanctions are appropriate in this regard," the Russian communications minister said.

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