Russia China Cybersecurity Agreement

According to a September 2015 report by Proofpoint.Inc,2, a U.S. information security company, Chinese language instruments were used in a campaign targeting telecommunications and the military in Russia, just two months after the signing of the cybersecurity pact in May 2015. Although there is no evidence that the attack has a direct link to Chinese groups, the use of Chinese-language tools and the „command and control of reception sites in areas of Chinese influence“ raise suspicions that the Chinese are the most likely actors. According to cybersecurity analysts, China and Russia view the free flow of information via social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook as a direct threat to their governments. Apparently, in response to the Arab Spring, both countries have increased access to many social networks used by protesters. Valentin Weber is a DPhil candidate for cybersecurity and a research partner at the Centre for Technology and Global Affairs at the University of Oxford. You can follow him @weberv_. A similar pattern can also be observed in the field of cybersecurity. Russia and China concluded a bilateral cybersecurity agreement in May 2015, described by some media as a „non-aggression pact.“ While the framework of the pact was largely borrowed from its previous agreement under the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the effectiveness of implementing its „commitment not to hack fighting each other“ remains in question. In December 2019, member states adopted a resolution, supported by Russia, which set up a committee of experts to examine a new UN treaty on cybercrime.

Russia has long wanted to replace the Budapest Convention of the Council of Europe. The Convention is the only international agreement that is subject to human rights safeguards, criminalizes cybercrime and prohibits illegal access, access to systems and theft of intellectual property. Although 64 countries have signed the treaty, including Argentina, Australia, Japan, Turkey and the United States, Moscow has consistently argued that the agreement is only a regional agreement. Russia also claimed that it violated the principles of state sovereignty and non-interference. Before the vote, U.S. officials warned that the proposal was an opportunity for Russia, China and others to create UN-approved standards for monitoring the flow of information, but major democracies like Nigeria and India have found Moscow and China`s compelling arguments to fight cybercrime and terrorism. What remains to be seen is how recent allegations of Russian hacking to influence the US election can effectively encourage other nations to side with the Sino-Russian side, which sees hostile information as a destabilizing means. China and Russia have submitted two proposals for a national code of conduct in the field of cyberspace to the United Nations, with an agreement from future signatories to „not use information and communications technologies to interfere in the affairs of other states in order to undermine political, economic and social stability.“ Governments that want to preserve this right and their autonomy in cyberspace can be constantly taken to the side of China/Russia, especially since the gap between cybersecurity and information security is closely linked and the current focus on technology turns a blind eye to the reality of the information space. The U.S. State Department is working on a new cybersecurity office, but is hampered by debates with lawmakers about its purpose and mandate.

At a cybersecurity conference in Washington on September 27, Michele Markoff, a senior cyber affairs adviser at the State Department, said her „personal interpretation“ was that the proposal showed that China and Russia „don`t care what we think,“ according to the Huffington Post.

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