MOSCOW, October 17 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian government has submitted amendments to state lawmakers that would give the country’s Federal Security Service (FSB) the authority to investigate and fight hacker attacks.
If approved, the FSB would be able to carry out special operations to search for “information about events or actions (inaction), constituting threats to the information security” of Russia, adding information security to the list of state, military, economic and ecological security for which the FSB is already responsible.
The bill’s authors claim that interstate information warfare is intensifying, citing the distribution of malware that can be used as an information weapon.
They said that governments, banks, schools and media outlets are also targeted for cybercrimes and possible “terrorist” activity.
The bill, posted on the website of the state Duma – the lower house of the Russian parliament – on Thursday, did not detail the methods or parameters by which the FSB would be allowed to identify and combat hackers.
Computer crime is a major problem in Russia, fueled by negligible government intervention, light punishment and rare prosecution of cyber criminals.
Illegal blocking, copying or changing computer data for material gain or causing “large-scale damage” – exceeding 1 million rubles ($31,000) – carries a punishment of six months in jail in Russia.
In August, state lawmaker Ilya Kostunov proposed upping the maximum punishment for hackers who work for money or cause large-scale harm to four years in prison.