29 April 2022. MK.RU
Written by Andrey Yashlavsky
Translated by Elizaveta Ovchinnikova
‘This is not a sanction. This is a cyberattack’
Against the background of the Ukrainian crisis, the West continues to inflict anti-Russian sanctions strikes affecting various areas. Cyberspace is no exception. In the USA, the possibility of disconnecting Russia from the Internet is being discussed. President of the All-Russian public organisation ‘International Police Association Russian Section’, Doctor of Law, Honoured Lawyer of Russia, Professor Lieutenant General Yury Zhdanov spoke on the prospects and risks of this step.
– Yury Nikolaevich, where did such information come from – about the intention to disconnect our country from the World Wide Web? Is this some kind of sanctions?
Mr Yury Zhdanov: No, this is not a sanction, this is a cyberattack. And they announced such intentions themselves. Thus, on 14 April, The Washington Post published an article by Dmitri Alperovich, Co-Founder and Chairman of Silverado Policy Accelerator, Co-Founder and former Chief Technology Officer of the a cybersecurity company CrowdStrike and Samuel Charap, Senior Political Scientist at RAND Corporation. I name their titles in such detail for you to understand the seriousness of these statements and intentions. The article is called: Russian Cyberattacks May Be Coming. What Might Be an Optimal Strategy for Responding? The authors thoroughly explain why it is necessary to disconnect Russia from the Internet.
– So why is it? It may be assumed that they would do it, as usual, exclusively for ‘self-defence.’
Mr Yury Zhdanov: Of course. The article lucidly explains that Moscow, exhausted by Western economic penalties, in order to somehow survive, has the only opportunity left – to inflict a crushing cyber strike on the United States.
I’m quoting: ‘The Kremlin could target major Western financial institutions… Putin could also decide to carry out attacks against US energy companies to disrupt the normal operations of oil and natural gas pipelines, refineries and storage facilities... Attacks of this sort could lead to significant disruptions to the US domestic energy supply, raising gasoline prices and worsening inflation – both of which are already at historically high levels.’ As usual, it’s not personal, just business.
This allegedly our cyber strike has to be forestalled. There is only one way to do this – to shut down the Internet in Russia.
– Do they really think they are able to do it?
Mr Yury Zhdanov: They are not fools there either. They understand perfectly well that it is impossible to do this completely and forever. But if the Internet service is disrupted for a short time, literally for a couple of hours but across the whole of Russia at the same time and suddenly, then under their estimates the consequences for our country would be comparable to the results of a tactical nuclear strike.
– Wow! Aren’t they afraid of retaliatory measures, only not virtual at all?
Mr Yury Zhdanov: Here, indeed, lies the question. I suppose they are afraid. Therefore, they strongly urge their ‘cyber fighters’ – at least publicly – not to be too zealous: ‘It would be beneficial for the United States to tailor a response that can provide a powerful demonstration to the Kremlin of US capabilities but avoid widespread destruction that could lead to escalation.’ That is, they understand that some kind of failure, the so-called random scenario, may lead the conflict beyond cyberspace. And at least ‘Iskanders’ will fly in response.
On the other hand, we are witnessing an intelligently disguised provocation. The arguments in the ‘independent’ US newspaper about the possible shutdown of the Internet in Russia are probing our position. What if, as in the 80-90s, we go soft?..