| 17 April 2024, Wednesday |

US Focuses on Ransomware in Cybersecurity Talks, Ignoring Russia’s Requests, Moscow Says

At the negotiations on cybersecurity, the United States is trying to highlight only the problem of ransomware, ignoring Russia’s concerns in this area, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said after the consultations in Geneva.

Consultations between Russia and the United States on strategic stability were held in Geneva on Wednesday. The Russian interdepartmental delegation was headed by Ryabkov, the US delegation was led by Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman. The parties also discussed issues related to cybersecurity.

“The United States picks out only one aspect of the widest range of issues that interest us and that we want to deal with. This is ransomware and persecution of those who are engaged in this,” Ryabkov said.

“We want the Americans to understand that we need a reaction to our appeals in various situations, including when there is a harmful effect on our infrastructure, on our legal entities from the US jurisdiction, we need a meaningful, substantive, professional response from the US side to these our appeals, with which things are not going well,” he added.
Russia expects that dialogue with the United States on cybersecurity will become regular if a broad agenda is discussed, Ryabkov noted.

He stressed that it was important for Russia during the dialogue on cybersecurity to discuss, in particular, the issues of attempts to use the Internet to influence weapons control systems.

If the United States really wants to deal with cybercrimes and Internet ransomware, it could use the 1999 mutual legal assistance treaty with Russia, bearing in mind, however, Moscow’s principled position not to extradite its citizens, Ryabkov said.

“We do not extradite Russian citizens. This is an obvious, principled position that we adhere to. As for the extradition of citizens of other countries, there is no such agreement with the United States; of course, there is no such practice either. We would have to deal with the return of our citizens who are serving unjust sentences,” Ryabkov said, answering whether it was possible to conclude an agreement with the United States on the extradition of cybercriminals who operate from the territory of both countries.
“I do not want to create the false impression that the question of ransomware, which many US officials have been talking about lately quite categorically, is so unambiguous. If the United States wanted to clarify this issue and, in general, would be ready to work on a mutually respectful, constructive basis, they would have used the 1999 agreement on mutual legal assistance,” Ryabkov added.

He stressed that “we need normal requests and a normal form of processing such information, and not stuffing it into the media with a subsequent surge of attention, the number of likes and retweets is off scale, the effect has been achieved, but this is not work.”

“This is an unprofessional approach to this issue. If we manage to arrange this whole issue on a sound, understandable and professional basis and set some framework for this, then, probably, there will be results that everyone needs. We do not want the Internet to be used by criminals, statistics in the whole world of cybercrime is depressing. This must be done, but the most important thing is that there is already a basis for this,” the deputy minister explained.
“This is not the same as strategic stability. It can be roughly reduced to attempts to use Internet technologies, for example, to influence drones,” the deputy minister added.

Russia and the United States have not yet agreed that defensive and offensive, nuclear and non-nuclear weapons would be discussed at the talks on strategic stability, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister said.

“We are striving for this. It’s not a secret, we want to discuss these issues in approximately the same formulation as you said. We have not yet agreed with the Americans on this topic. The Americans want to discuss something else and something more,” he said, answering whether the United States had agreed to discuss defensive and offensive weapons in their nuclear and non-nuclear equipment during negotiations with Russia.

“By and large, this is the core of the whole discussion, and I would not like to literally present all this to the public. We have just started to approach this topic,” he added.

  • Sputnik