“The United States is stepping up digital intrusions into the Russian power system as a warning to Vladimir Putin, demonstrating the increased capabilities of the Donald Trump administration in cyberspace,” writes The New York Times (NYT) on the eve of a possible meeting of the American and Russian presidents at the G20 Osaka summit.
Referring to former and current officials of the administration, the newspaper writes that American operations in cyberspace have become a “response” to Russia's attempts to introduce malicious software “that can sabotage the work of American power plants, oil and gas pipelines or water supply in any future conflict with the United States.” In addition, Washington believes that in this way it is possible to prevent Moscow’s possible interference in the American elections of 2020. “But it also carries a significant risk of the escalation of the daily digital cold war between Washington and Moscow,” the NYT said.
Expert: The risk of attacks on the Russian grid from the United States is
One of the first to respond to an article on Twitter was US President Donald Trump. He called the publication of American newspaper people "betrayal." “This is an act of virtual betrayal and not true! Our corrupt news media is ready for anything! They are real cowards and, no doubt, the enemies of the people! ”- wrote the owner of the White House.
It is curious that only a month ago he answered in the affirmative to a question from Fox News about whether he was aware of cyber attacks on Russia in 2018. “I would prefer not to talk about it, but you can believe me that all this happened during my administration,” Trump stressed then.
What are the Americans attacking?
NYT was told who wished to remain anonymous sources in the presidential administration, the United States has been introducing intelligence programs to monitor the Russian power grid since 2012. However, now the American strategy has shifted more towards the attack, as officials say. Cyber attacks have become more, they include not only the introduction of spyware, but also various viruses. All this is done partly as a warning, partly in order to be prepared for possible cyber war between Russia and the United States.
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A year ago, US national security adviser John Bolton, at a meeting on cybersecurity, said: "Russians are no longer afraid of us." In his opinion, the American special services must ensure that not only Russia, but also the rest of the world think three times before invading American cyberspace. In the same vein, General Paul Nakasone, head of the US cyber command, spoke openly.
Last summer, Trump significantly expanded the powers of American cyber command, giving him much more freedom to conduct offensive online operations without obtaining the approval of the president.
Now, according to John Bolton, American intelligence agencies are conducting large-scale cyber operations on a scale that they "never considered a few years ago." However, it was not possible to find out what damage the Russian energy infrastructure managed to inflict. “How deeply the United States has penetrated into the Russian network, is it possible to plunge Russia into darkness or cripple its armed forces? This is a question that cannot be answered until the code is activated,” the article says.
Interestingly, the American press reacted to the news about cyber attacks against the Russian infrastructure with understanding. “This is the diplomacy of gunboats of the 21st century,” said Robert Chesney, law professor at the University of Texas, NYT. – We show the enemy that we can inflict serious losses without actually doing much. Previously, we parked warships in sight from the enemy shore. Now, we may get access to key systems, such as the electrical network. ”
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“Russia, let's not forget about it, has already conducted cyber attacks against its opponents, for example, in Ukraine, Georgia, Estonia. And on the eve of the presidential election of 2020, any step aimed at taking a more successful position to conduct their own cyber attacks against Russia can be seen as a warning that the United States has the opportunity to strike back, ”said Matthew Chance, a CNN correspondent. . He did not miss a chance to say that this issue is likely to become another “zone of tension” between Trump and Putin during their meeting at the G20 summit.
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In Russia, the reports of cyber attacks reacted very reservedly. The Energy Ministry said that Russian energy companies themselves ensure the protection of their information systems and no information about attacks was received from them.
A spokesman for the Russian president, Dmitry Peskov, said that Russian companies were both subjected to and are being subjected to cyber attacks from abroad. “We have repeatedly said that our respective departments are constantly struggling with this in order to prevent any harm to our economy, our sensitive areas from these attacks,” he stressed. According to Peskov, Russia has repeatedly offered the international community “cooperation in order to jointly counteract any manifestations of cybercrime,” but the American partners have never responded to Russia's proposals.
“The new publication The New York Times, which appeared on the eve of the G20 summit in Osaka, has purely political overtones. The goal is to thwart the possible normalization of Russian-American relations, the starting point of which could be the first meeting between Presidents Putin and Trump this year, ”Yuriy Rogulev, director of the Franklin Roosevelt Foundation for the Study of the USA, told the Kommersant newspaper. In his opinion, stories about hackers, as a rule, have a great resonance, while it is almost impossible to confirm or deny them. “Therefore, it is a win-win means to create a background for a new confrontation,” the expert stressed.
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“So far we are not talking about any full-scale talks in Osaka, and the dialogue between Russia and the United States is now at a very low level. Therefore, there is practically nothing to break, ”said Valery Garbuzov, director of the Institute of the USA and Canada, Russian Academy of Sciences, AiF.ru. According to him, the American society is finally rooted in the opinion that Russia tried to thwart the US presidential election with the help of cyber attacks. “It is virtually impossible to convince them otherwise. Newspapers make ratings on this, politicians build their careers. Against this background, it is virtually impossible to work out some kind of joint cooperation agreement in cyberspace, although this could protect both countries from dangerous incidents. The meeting in Osaka, Trump and Putin will not solve this problem, including because of the general poor state of Russian-American relations, ”he said.
. (tagsToTranslate) relations between Russia and the United States (t) cyber attacks