Comment by the Information and Press Department on false accusations of Russian interference with the Winter Olympic Games in the Republic of Korea
The information war against Russia continues unabated. The world has witnessed several rounds of it already. One gets the impression that a number of states have already grown accustomed to attributing all of their domestic political problems to Russia’s alleged cyber interference.
Now we have entered a new stage of the information war, featuring an even more far-reaching and unsubstantiated accusation: that Russia is planning to attack the ideals of the Olympic movement.
We are aware that Western media are planning to plant stories based on pseudo-investigations that reveal a “Russian trace” in hacking attacks on information resources related to the Winter Olympic Games in the Republic of Korea. As usual, no evidence will be presented to the world. This anti-Russian campaign may involve not just politically motivated media, such as Washington Post or BuzzFeed, but also IT security companies, such as ThreatConnect, TrendMicro, or Eset, which have deep ties to the CIA and the NSA.
We suspect that these are the contours of the next provocation against Russia. It follows a familiar pattern. Russia was also accused of staging an attack on its own peacekeepers in South Ossetia on the day the Olympic Games opened in Beijing in 2008. A later investigation showed that Georgia was the attacker. Clearly, the same playbook is being used all these years later. Certain forces are again claiming there is a “Russian threat” to the Olympic movement.
Accusing Russia of undermining international information security (IIS) looks doubly absurd given that our country, for over 20 years now, has been promoting a number of specific constructive proposals that could improve IIS and help the world address threats in the digital sphere.
First, an initiative to develop global rules and principles governing responsible behaviour of states which was supposed to regulate what can and cannot be done in the information space.
Second, the idea of adopting a universal international legal instrument which would help eradicate cybercrime. This refers to Russia’s draft of a UN convention on combating information crime, which is designed to provide states with specific legal tools to fight this threat. Ironically, it is our Western partners who refuse to support this proposal at a time when they not only incur enormous losses from cybercrime themselves, but also accuse Russia of cybercrime.
Despite all the Russophobic attacks, we have invariably declared our willingness to establish pragmatic cooperation in the sphere of IIS with any interested state. Russia is ready to help investigate cyberattacks against any affected country, be they crimes or any other incidents, provided that the issue is about actual cooperation, not just going through motions.
Russia’s current approaches to IIS are shared by the vast majority of states. However, there are some out there who hold other positions. It appears that our opponents prefer the absence of any international regulation in the digital sphere where they can enjoy full freedom of action.
Notably, precisely those states that are building up their own military cyber capabilities, conducting illegal spying and violating human rights are the ones that hype the imaginary “Russian threat.”
At the same time, they tend to forget that the anti-Russian information wave can backfire at its masterminds by providing cover to international terrorist and criminal groups to expand their activities.
Russia and the Republic of Korea enjoy close and constructive cooperation in the sphere of information security. Our experts conduct regular interdepartmental consultations on this topic, the next round of which is scheduled to be held in spring. The Russian Federation and the Republic of Korea actively cooperate in the UN, including in developing rules of conduct for states in the information space.
For our part, we are prepared to expand this cooperation. It is of fundamental importance to us to preserve the essence and the spirit of neighbourly relations with the Republic of Korea, including in the sphere of maintaining mutual information security.