Cybersecurity: an agreement between the US and Russia?
The United States and Russia could eventually find a “cybersecurity arrangement that begins to bring some order” according to Joe Biden. Good news! This agreement will aim to reorganise the cybersecurity field to prevent ransomware attacks from continuing and affecting critical infrastructure in both countries.
Stopping ransomware attacks
Despite the summit meeting between the two Heads of State, their relationship remained sour. Would Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden be ready to leave the past behind them? There was no guarantee. Nevertheless, the US President explained they agree on the issue of cybersecurity, and their objectives are the same.
Joe Biden hinted that clear progress would be visible in the fight against ransomware attacks. He believes that certain areas of critical infrastructure should never be attacked, neither by perpetrators in Russia nor in the United States.
He also stated that the meeting was held on a positive note and that “the United States will respond to actions that impair [its] vital interests or those of [its] allies”. Then he added that they agreed with the Russian president to “task experts in both countries to work on understandings […] and to follow up on specific cases that originate in other countries”.
Although they both mentioned the $4.4 million (~£3.18 million) ransom paid by Colonial Pipeline after suffering an online hack, neither Putin nor Biden talked about cryptocurrencies. Rather than mentioning Bitcoin or cryptoassets, Putin preferred to be delicate, using the expression “electronically paid funds”.
Ways to fight against hacks
According to Rosa Smothers, the current senior vice president of the security company KnowBe4, the US government “has a host of capabilities” to fight against ransomware attacks. Among others, it can attack hackers’ physical servers or their cryptocurrency accountsdirectly.
“In cases where payment servers are located in Russian territory, we [the US government] could consider providing the Russian government the information needed,” said Smothers.
As for preventing future hacks in the United States, it is currently up to private sector companies to manage IT infrastructure. However, the situation could change through legislation. For example, the Sarbannes-Oxley Act provides for the existence of protective measures in order to secure financial data.
Ending the cycle of ransomware attacks is one of the goals shared by the United States and Russia. After a several hour-long meeting, Joe Biden expressed his satisfaction with the tone of the discussion with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on infrastructure security in both countries. However, neither of them mentioned Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. A good sign or a bad omen?
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