Nikolai Patrushev is the secretary of the Russian Federation Security Council. At the Moscow Conference on International Security in June he said that over 120,000 cyber attacks were carried out on Russia’s critical infrastructure in 2020. While most of these were internal a significant number of them originated in the US, Germany and the Netherlands. Well before the Putin-Biden summit, Patrushev was calling for international cooperation against cybercrime. On 31 May 2021, in an interview with the Russian state newspaper Russia Gazette, he said ‘Russia calls for boosting international cooperation for the sake of forming a global legal system that would ensure the safe and equal use of information and communication technologies’. He also pointed out that on 12 May 45,000 ransom where cyber attacks were carried out worldwide including on Russian mobile phone companies, banks and the railways.’
The apparent oblivion by the US authorities to the massive level of cybercrime originating on Russian servers but not necessarily originating with Russian actors does call into question the effectiveness of American government spending on cyber security. The US media describing every cyber problem that comes out of Russia as an intervention personally ordered by President Putin gets in the way of the truth and useful solutions to the problems.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Let me tell you the story Andy Crocker told me. When Tony Blair was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, William Hill, a chain of betting shops was threatened with Distributed Denial of Services attacks on Grand National Day, today of maximum spend on betting in the UK. Blair had set up a special police unit, the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit to make the UK an attractive location for IT companies. The Scotland Yard detective Andy Crocker was put on the case. After a diversion to Costa Rica, the trail led to Russia. With the active cooperation of the Russian Police, Crocker gathered evidence and tracked down the Russian technician responsible for the details of the attack. A prosecution was brought and the perpetrators sentenced. This was and is the only example of such cooperation. Andy’s story is featured in the book Fatal System Error.
Why has there been such failure since? There is a large and formidable industry dedicated to spreading negative propaganda about President Putin and Russia. It is inescapable that Russia invaded Georgia and Ukraine but then Turkey occupies Cyprus, Indonesia occupies Irian Jaya, China occupies various territories. The negative propaganda about Russia is put about by tax evaders, tax avoiders, fraudsters, murder suspects and other survivors of the Yeltsin era who have fled to the West. Such people have spent a great deal of money ensuring all spin about Putin is negative. Add to these the insecurities of the smaller countries on Russia’s western and southern fringes who are concerned both about Putin and Russia. This damages efforts to get to the reality in terms of national security, crime, trade and investment.”