U.S., Russia in talks on cyberattacks

April 26, 2012 at 3:59 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 26 (UPI) -- A U.S.-Russian communication channel set up under President Ronald Reagan may be used to deal with a new security threat, cyberattacks, officials say.

The Nuclear Risk Reduction Center, which dates back to 1988, aimed to ensure that misunderstandings about satellite launches or missile tests did not blow up into nuclear war. The Obama administration hopes to use it to de-escalate conflict over apparent cyberattacks, The Washington Post reported.

Sources told the newspaper that negotiations between the two countries are nearing an end. The United States is in similar discussions with China that are going more slowly.

The agreement will not deal with hacking by organized criminal groups or with the issue of free speech on the Internet, the Post said. It is aimed at setting up structures that would help determine if computer problems are the result of a hostile attack.

"Both the U.S. and Russia are committed to tackling common cybersecurity threats while at the same time reducing the chances a misunderstood incident could negatively affect our relationship," Caitlin Hayden, a White House spokeswoman, said.

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