Schmidt Meets with Russian Counterpart

Washington-Moscow Cybersecurity 'Hot Line' to Be Established
Schmidt Meets with Russian Counterpart
An around-the-clock communications link between Washington and Moscow that will allow both nations to prevent cybersecurity crises from escalating should be operational by year's end, White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt said in a blog posted on Tuesday.

In the blog, Schmidt revealed he met with his Russian counterpart, National Security Council Deputy Secretary Nikolay Klimashin, in Washington from June 21 to 23 to discuss common cybersecurity threats. "Our goal was to continue building mutual confidence in our two governments' activities in cyberspace to reduce the risk of misperception and inadvertent crisis," Schmidt said. "It's a prime example of the 'reset' in U.S.-Russia relations taking on a new and important dimension."

Schmidt said the U.S. and Russian delegation have met before, in February in Moscow, exchanging information on technical threats to both nations, such as botnets. He said the meetings create a better understanding of each nation's military views on operating in cyberspace. "The U.S. and Russia are committed to tackling common cybersecurity threats while at the same time reducing the chances a misunderstood incident could negatively affect our relationship," Schmidt said.

A joint statement issued by Schmidt and Klimashin said discussions focused on the exchange of military views on cyberspace operations; implementing regular information exchange between both nations' Computer Emergency Response/Readiness Teams; and establishing protocols to communicate about cybersecurity issues via existing and highly successful risk reduction/crisis prevention communications links between capitals.

"While deepening mutual understanding on national security issues in cyberspace, these measures will help our two governments better communicate about small- and large-scale threats to our networks, facilitate better collaboration in responding to those threats, and reduce the prospect of escalation in response to crisis incidents," the communiqué states. "Both sides resolved to complete these three steps, exchanging papers and establishing the operational relationships, by year's end, and further pursue dialogue to enhance understanding of national security in cyberspace."

Schmidt said the U.S.-Russian dialogue is an example of an administration cybersecurity initiative that isn't widely know. "What you don't always hear about are our efforts to reduce the overall risk to our national networks through active diplomacy and international technical collaboration," he said, saying both are key efforts for realizing the president's International Strategy for Cyberspace released in May (see White House Unveils Int'l Cybersecurity Strategy).

About the Author

Eric Chabrow

Eric Chabrow

Retired Executive Editor, GovInfoSecurity

Chabrow, who retired at the end of 2017, hosted and produced the semi-weekly podcast ISMG Security Report and oversaw ISMG's GovInfoSecurity and InfoRiskToday. He's a veteran multimedia journalist who has covered information technology, government and business.

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