By Matt Siegel
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 Forum-MSK.ru 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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