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How Russia and the US are avoiding a digital cold war

Russia and the USA spent a large part of the 20th century in a stand off of global proportions. Posturing went back and forth, spies and information wars were won and lost but ultimately there was no out and out conflict, most likely because neither party really wanted to go all in. To make sure that that doesn’t happen in the digital age, the US and Russia have announced new cooperations with regards to digital security and a new hotline, to allow for better communication should a major cyber attack take place.

Thanks to an agreement at the G-8 summit, Russia and the US will have a voice communication channel installed between both party’s digital security heads, allowing for immediate confirmation of any attack by either party and a direct way for both countries to discuss any fall out that may occur. On top of this, they’ve also agreed to exchange information on evolving threats around the digital world.

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No Iron Curtain here… just ostentation.

“On a continuing basis, these two authorities will exchange technical information about malware or other malicious indicators appearing to originate from each other’s territory, to aid in proactive mitigation of threats,” the White House statement said (via Ars). “This kind of exchange helps expand the volume of technical cybersecurity information available to our countries, improving our ability to protect our critical networks.”

Of course while Russia and the US are historic enemies, the current “problem” country with regards to cyber attacks, is China, which has repeatedly been condemned for its use of digital attacks on foreign countries. It’s also been rumoured in the past that America and China have had an ongoing online war for quite some time and even that China has a dedicated unit of hackers that has become so powerful as to gain autonomy within the country.

It would be interesting to know if the PRISM program came up in these talks and whether this increased cooperation would lead to further US influence across the Eastern battlegrounds of the online world, or perhaps allow Russia to have access to some of the worldwide information the NSA and other organisations have been gathering. Unfortunately, there was no mention of the recently leaked program in the official US release.

KitGuru Says: I hate using the word cyber. It seems like such a retro way to discuss new digital technologies. You guys pick me apart on my spelling all the time, maybe you can think of a new word I could use to describe such “cyber” warfare?

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