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On November 23, 2017, Dostoyevsky Library hosted an «Urban Breakfast» focusing on «CyberCrime and CyberPunishment: Hackers and the State».

Pavel Sharikov, Director of the Applied Research Center at the RAS Institute for U.S. and Canadian Studies, Vesta Matveeva, Senior Digital Forensic Expert at Group-IB, and Maria Smekalova, Coordinator of Cybersecurity Project at RIAC, were involved as presenters.

On November 23, 2017, Dostoyevsky Library hosted an «Urban Breakfast» focusing on «CyberCrime and CyberPunishment: Hackers and the State».

Pavel Sharikov, Director of the Applied Research Center at the RAS Institute for U.S. and Canadian Studies, Vesta Matveeva, Senior Digital Forensic Expert at Group-IB, and Maria Smekalova, Coordinator of Cybersecurity Project at RIAC, were involved as presenters.

In the opening remarks Maria Smekalova pointed out that in view of high degree of cybersecurity issues politicization, there is practically no effective dialogue at the official level between Russia and the countries of the West. At the same time, the discussion of complex issues in the area of cyber policy is carried out on Track 2 and 1.5. Over 2017 RIAC has prepared three joint documents on cybersecurity in partnership with leading American and British think tanks.

Pavel Sharikov underscored the fact that the world has changed a lot in recent times, the industrial power of states is losing its significance, and the new era brings information power to the forefront. Information is an important inalienable resource, characterized by confidentiality, promptness, objectivity, accessibility, integrity, etc. The expert noted that the institutions created to regulate social processes in an industrial society are obsolete in the post-industrial world, that is why there are issues and contradictions in the area of information and cybersecurity. P. Sharikov noted that it is difficult for the state to control the information space within the country, because active actions might easily violate human rights or restrict development processes in the information sphere. At the international level, it is also difficult to regulate the Internet, because the documents that are intended for supranational management do not provide for norms, acts, or articles on cyberspace management. To solve new problems, including the ones in cyberspace, it is necessary to modify or introduce new instruments of global management.

Vesta Matveeva told how cybercrime trends, goals, and methods of attacks have changed, how motivation of cybercriminals was changing, what forms of self-organization of hacker groups have become popular recently. For example, V. Matveeva noted that hacker attacks towards personal computers and hunting for private finances were popular some time ago; now pro-state hacker groups, targeted attacks on state facilities, banks and financial organizations are gaining increasing popularity. The expert noted that there has been an unprecedented increase in the number of cybercriminals in Russia.

In 2017, information security determines the agenda in interstate relations, and there are more and more hacker groups sponsored by states. The main purpose of work of such groups is inflicting damage to the financial industry of other states; such work is carried out through espionage, information theft, use of one bank to access other banks; there are also sabotage actions, phishing, targeted bank attacks, in the face of which the financial industry is defenseless.

Group-IB expert stated that the development of cyberattacks has reached the heights when the victims have no chance to prevent and protect themselves from targeted attacks. The only solution now is monitoring suspicious activities, investigation of cyberattacks, and rapid introduction of security technologies and tools updates.

Vesta Matveeva noted that the attacks of hackers are directed to energy sphere, that acts as a testing ground for cyberweapons. Soon such activity of cybercriminals in the energy sector might become a serious threat for communications and preserving the infrastructure of states.

The expert told about a new trend of 2017 that Russia is more often called the ubiquitous hacker; sometimes Russia is accused even of those cases when there are no traces and reliable evidence of Russia’s guilt. Such trend, according to V. Matveeva, is becoming increasingly popular not only for political motives and reasons. Hackers who come from the Russian Federation do have excellent skills, have good programmer training and work not only in Russia but also abroad (in EU, APR, etc.). At the same time, in all known cases of cyberattacks performed, that the so-called «Russian hackers» were accused of, no technical reports were presented in order to unambiguously attribute the attack. All evidence and data used in the accusation of the Russian side can be simulated quite easily. The expert demonstrated the cases of such imitation of the Russian trace in the attacks of North Korean hackers. The motivation for the accusation is exclusively political.

The speakers also noted that now scandals at the international level arise following the attacks performed by single hackers who are attributed to certain states, and then accusations are put forward at international platforms (such as the UN meetings, meetings of heads of state, foreign ministers).

At the end of the Urban Breakfast, experts answered the questions about the reasons for the excitement in international relations around cybersecurity issues, the reasons for the increase in the number of cybercriminals in Russia, and the specifics of cybercrime investigation.

Within the framework of the event, a position paper with proposals on Russia-U.S. cooperation in the area of cybersecurity prepared by RIAC jointly with American partners from EastWest Institute was presented to the audience.

Video (in Russian)

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Poll conducted

  1. Korean Peninsula Crisis Has no Military Solution. How Can It Be Solved?
    Demilitarization of the region based on Russia-China "Dual Freeze" proposal  
     36 (35%)
    Restoring multilateral negotiation process without any preliminary conditions  
     27 (26%)
    While the situation benefits Kim Jong-un's and Trump's domestic agenda, there will be no solution  
     22 (21%)
    Armed conflict still cannot be avoided  
     12 (12%)
    Stonger deterrence on behalf of the U.S. through modernization of military infrastructure in the region  
     4 (4%)
    Toughening economic sanctions against North Korea  
     2 (2%)
 
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