U.S., Russia differ on cybersecurity

June 28, 2009 at 1:15 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 28 (UPI) -- Russia and the United States disagree on how to counter cyberwarfare threats, with Washington deeming an international treaty unnecessary, sources say.

Moscow, however, is seeking a treaty resembling those negotiated on chemical warfare to address the threat of Internet hacker attacks on computer systems vital to national security, Sunday's New York Times quoted an unnamed senior State Department official as saying.

The official reportedly said the differing approaches to cybersecurity are likely to come to a head when U.S. President Barack Obama attends a summit in Russia early next month and when he visits the General Assembly of the United Nations in November.

The White House favors an approach in which improved cooperation among international law enforcement is key. But Vladislav Sherstyuk, a deputy secretary of the Russian Security Council, said in March that Russia's proposed treaty would ban a country from secretly embedding malicious software codes that could be activated remotely in a war.

"We really believe it's defense, defense, defense," the State Department official told the Times. "They want to constrain offense. We needed to be able to criminalize these horrible 50,000 attacks we were getting a day."

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