Government Computers Face Anti-Espionage Restrictions

Government Computers Face Anti-Espionage Restrictions
Government Computers Face Anti-Espionage Restrictions 

By Matt Siegel
Staff Writer
The Moscow Times
March 21, 2008

President Vladimir Putin has signed a pair of executive orders designed 
to protect secrets carried on government computer networks from sabotage 
by insiders by restricting connections between international and 
domestic computer networks.

The measures, signed Wednesday, restrict the ability of computers with 
access to "state or official secrets" to connect with networks that 
travel outside of the country, a move welcomed by computer security 

Alexander Gostev, senior virus analyst at Kaspersky Computer Security in 
Moscow, praised the law, which he said contained the type of measures 
his company would recommend to its own clients.

"Filters might solve the problem of attacks from outside hackers but not 
the problems posed by insiders," Gostev said.

The decree stipulates that all "information systems, information and 
telecommunications networks, and computer equipment used to store, 
process or transmit information that contains state secrets or 
information from a state agency that contains official secrets," may not 
operate on networks connected to others that travel outside Russia's 
borders, according to a copy posted on the Kremlin's web site.

Any government network with access to state secrets seeking to connect 
to foreign networks must apply for special permission from the Federal 
Security Services, which will make decisions on a case-by-case basis.

If they choose to grant the request, the approved computers will be 
provided with special encryption software by the FSB.

But despite all the praise, at least one voice questioned the decision.

Anatoly Baranov, editor of online journal and an adviser to 
the government on issues of Internet security, attacked the decision as 
part of what he described as continuing government efforts to restrict 
freedom of speech on the Internet.

"Everything they're trying to do could be accomplished through the use 
of ordinary Internet filters," he said. "It's part of this war mentality 
that our government has."

Copyright 2006. The Moscow Times. All rights reserved.

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