Russia foiled 70mn cyberattacks from foreign hackers in 2016

Russian intelligence agency, Federal Security Service (FSB) communications and security spokesman Nikolay Murashov revealed on Tuesday (January 24) that Russia repelled 70 million cyber attacks which endangered its information infrastructure. While testifying before a state Duma committee for Information Policy, the officials added that most of the attacks in 2016 originated from foreign lands.

The development came after recent claims by the administration of former US president Barack Obama that Russia hacked into computer networks linked to the Democratic Party to tilt the 2016 presidential election in favour of the then-candidate Donald Trump. Obama vowed unspecific counter-measures.

Russia is considering measures to boost the security of all firms operating critical infrastructure. Murashov insisted that “at present, Russia has sufficient potential in the development of means of information security.”

While many major Russian companies, such as state-controlled energy giant Gazprom and those in charge of critical railway infrastructure are considered well-protected, there are enterprises that remain particularly vulnerable to such attacks.

The comments were made during a committee meeting at which a new bill, titled “On the Security of Critical Infrastructure of the Russian Federation”, was considered. It is aimed at boosting security for companies deemed to be part of Russia’s critical infrastructure. The bill has reportedly been designed to ensure that companies are adequately equipped to defend themselves against potential cyber attacks. The bill also stipulates that critical infrastructure companies report potential hacking attempts against them to relevant state institutions and cooperate in subsequent investigations.

Once the entity is in the list, it will be obliged to purchase means for detection and countering cyber warfare. The companies will be divided into three groups, gauging the degree to which their infrastructure is critical.

The draft bill is also reported to be aimed at preventing potential cyber attacks by imposing harsher punishments on cyber criminals. If passed, hackers targeting Russia’s critical infrastructure could face up to 10 years in prison.

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