US, Russia Close to Cyber Conflict Preventing Agreement

Washington, Apr 28 (IANS): The US and Russia are finalising an agreement to use their secure nuclear communication system for preventing possible misperceptions in cyberspace to escalate into full hostilities, a US daily has reported.

The Nuclear Risk Reduction Centre, established in 1988 under US President Ronald Reagan so that Washington and Moscow could alert each other to missile tests and space launches that could be mistaken as acts of aggression, The Washington Post said, would take a central role in the agreement nearing completion between the two sides, Xinhua reported.

Under the agreement, in case of a cyber incident, the channel of communication could be activated if either side detects what appears to be hostile activity from the other's territory, officials have said.

The secure channel would be a milestone towards ensuring that misperceptions in cyberspace do not escalate to full hostilities, the report quoted US officials and experts from both countries as saying.

The US-Russian talks reflect the increasing importance of cyber activities as points of potential conflict between nations, as the Obama administration is increasingly worried about a cyber attack that could disrupt computer systems providing water, power or other critical services to Americans, the report said.

This agreement, the first between the US and another country seeking to lessen the danger of conflict in cyberspace, would be an initial step toward making cyberspace more stable, the report added.

It is a result of the high-level cyber security talks held by the US and Russia in Moscow in February 2011 and a follow-up last June in Washington to establish confidence-building measures to prevent cyber conflict.


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