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Certain cyber attacks are 'off-limits', Biden warns Putin

Analysts say his efforts are unlikely to be more successful than previous attempts.

17/6/2021 1:27:00 AM

Analysts say his efforts are unlikely to be more successful than previous attempts. FMTNews US Russia Hacking Summit

Analysts say his efforts are unlikely to be more successful than previous attempts.

By-June 17, 2021 6:20 AMSecurity ask the media to step back as Biden and Putin prepare to meet in Geneva yesterday. (AP pic)GENEVA: US President Joe Biden told Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday that certain critical infrastructure should be “off-limits” to cyber attacks, but analysts said his efforts were unlikely to be more successful than previous attempts to carve out safe zones online.

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Biden wasn’t explicit about which areas he wanted out of bounds, but spoke of 16 kinds of infrastructure – an apparent reference to the 16 sectors designated as critical by the US Homeland Security Department, including telecommunications, healthcare, food and energy.

“We agreed to task experts in both our countries to work on specific understandings about what is off-limits,” Biden said.“We’ll find out whether we have a cyber security arrangement that begins to bring some order.”Putin didn’t directly refer to Biden’s proposal, but said in a separate press conference that the two leaders had agreed to “begin consultations” on cyber security issues. headtopics.com

The threat of cyber attacks aimed at critical infrastructure, a staple of disaster movies where renegade hackers trigger blackouts and mayhem, have long worried experts.The US had its first serious taste of what that might mean last month, when ransom-seeking cybercriminals briefly triggered the closure of a major US pipeline network, interrupting gasoline deliveries and triggering panic-buying up and down the East Coast.

Earlier cyber attacks aimed at the Ukrainian power grid and a Saudi petrochemical plant have also drawn concern.In all those cases, the hackers involved are accused by the US of either working directly for the Russian government or from Russian territory.

Russian officials have repeatedly denied carrying out or tolerating cyber attacks, and Putin yesterday made no concessions on the issue.“We need to throw out all kinds of insinuations, sit down at the expert level and start working in the interests of the US and Russia,” Putin told reporters.

He then made an insinuation of his own, saying that Russian officials had tracked malicious digital activity coming from the US.“We certainly see where the attacks are coming from. We see that this work is coordinated from US cyber space,” Putin said. headtopics.com

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Experts were sceptical that Biden’s proposal would be taken seriously by Putin.“There’s no indication at all that he actually went along with it,” said Keir Giles, a Russia expert with the London-based Chatham House think tank.Giles said that grappling with the cyber threat emerging from Russia would require “an outbreak of honesty” on the Kremlin’s side.

“There’s no indication – at least from Putin’s public comments so far – that that outbreak has begun,” Giles said.The fate of a similar agreement between former US President Barack Obama and Chinese leader Xi Jinping is not encouraging, said Stefan Soesanto, a researcher at the Centre for Security Studies at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

The 2015 agreement theoretically banned the theft of intellectual property for commercial gain, but many cyber experts that track Chinese hacking say Beijing eventually reneged on the deal.“Will Biden fare better than Obama/Xi? I don’t think it will,” Soesanto said.

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