Russia and China Promise Not to Hack Each Other

Russia and China come together to sign a cyber-security agreement saying that neither would hack nor launch cyber-attacks against each other. 

Russia and China signed a cyber-security deal, which experts say will strengthen Russia’s ties with the east and may become a foundation for close security ties between the two nations in the future.

Under the terms and conditions of the pact, the two countries pledge to work together to combat technology that may “destabilize the internal political and socio-economic atmosphere,” according to a 12-page agreement on the Russian government’s website.

Beyond that, the two nations also agreed to exchange information between law enforcement agencies, exchange technologies and ensure security of information infrastructure, according to documents in the agreement.

This marks a significant development in the coming together of the two nations, as China and Russia have always been on friendly terms since the end of the Cold War. Now, the relationship is even more important to Russia as their relationship with the U.S. has endured a rocky patch ever since Russia’s incursion into Ukraine.

“For Russia the agreement with China to cooperate on cyber security is an important step in terms of pivoting to the East,” said Oleg Demidov, a cyber-security consultant at the PIR Center, an independent think tank focusing on international security. “The level of cooperation between Russian and China will set a precedent for two global cyber security powers,” Mr. Demidov said.

Xi Jinping, China’s President noted in Xinhua, China’s official news service, “Decades ago, the Chinese and Russian nations shared weal and woe and forged an unbreakable war friendship with fresh blood,” he said.

China and Russia are united by a major strategic interest, disrupting the United States. A real-time view of the cyber threats and vulnerabilities in the world shows that most of them originate in China.

Beijing and Moscow have previously teamed up to push for changes in internet governance. Such moves have been made to essentially undermine the central role of US-based institutions. This cyber-agreement is the latest sign to push for changes in global internet governance.

Russia is also preparing a contingency plan in case the Russian segment of the Internet was shut down from the outside, according to Russian minister of communications Nikolai Nikiforov. China this week, cited ‘cyberspace sovereignty’ to propose an update to its national security law that would make it illegal to launch network attacks, conduct cyber theft of disseminate material that is deemed unlawful and harmful.

Recent western sanctions against Russia over the Ukrainian crisis has led to Russian officials re-evaluating areas of critical dependencies on Europe and the US, to turn instead toward the east. Russian President Vladmir Putin has called for moving key online infrastructure into Russia from overseas, remarking publicly that the Internet began as “a CIA project.”