Security service gets access to internet traffic in new initiative to combat cyber crime in Russia
A new bill forged by the Russian Duma, which puts the Federal Security Service (FSB) in charge of dealing with cyber crime, effectively means that it will be able to monitor internet traffic without a formal mandate, the international media reported, October 21.
“Russia has come up with a proposal that will require internet service providers to monitor and record the entire cyber traffic for the benefit of the country’s intelligence agency, the Federal Security Service (FSB),” the International Business Times reported. “[…] According to Kommersant daily, the service providers are protesting against the plan, which allows data gathering prior to court approval.”
The new bill means that the FSB will create a unit to deal exclusively with cyber crime seen to threaten national security. According to the local media, this will include the possible use of viruses by foreign governments.
Local internet providers will reportedly be required to set up monitoring systems in order to send information to the FSB should it be requested.
“The FSB’s draft also provides that the federal power bodies divide all organizations and sites in the country into three categories of importance,” Russian news portal TR.com reported. “The owners of these organizations and sites will be obliged to provide the FSB with full access to their data facilities and immediately report all suspicious computer incidents.”
The bill kicked up a storm in Russia especially in the light of the temporary asylum granted to former U.S secret agent, Edward Snowden, who blew the whistle on the mass invigilation of the communication channels including the internet by the U.S. government.
Russia is widely regarded as a safe haven for cyber criminals. The cyber crime market was worth a total of nearly USD 2 bn in 2012, according to a report by Group-IB. Online banking fraud took the largest chunk of profit. It was valued at USD 490 bn in 2011, decreasing slightly to USD 446 mln in 2012.