President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the Belfast Waterfront Convention Center in Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 17, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Cybersecurity High On Obama-Putin Meeting Agenda

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Presidents of Russia and the United States agreed during their meeting on Monday on “landmark steps” to improve cybersecurity, including establishing a communications link to exchange information about computer incidents of national security concern.

“To create a mechanism for information sharing in order to better protect critical information systems, we have established a communication channel and information sharing arrangements between our computer emergency response teams,” Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama said in a joint statement.

In order to promptly exchange information related to Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs), the two states will use Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers, a round-the-clock facilities established in Russia and the US the 1980s to promptly inform each other about missile tests that could be mistaken as acts of aggression.

“To facilitate the exchange of urgent communications that can reduce the risk of misperception, escalation and conflict, we have authorized the use of the direct communications link between our Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers for this purpose,” the joint statement reads.

The two presidents also agreed to establish a direct communication link between high-level officials to manage potentially dangerous situations arising from events that may carry security threats to or in the use of ICTs.

Russia and the US also agreed to establish a bilateral working group to meet on the regular basis for consultations on cybersecurity-related issues of mutual interest and concern. The group will start its practical activities “immediately” after being formed next month.

“This working group is to assess emerging threats, elaborate, propose and coordinate concrete joint measures to address such threats as well as strengthen confidence,” the statement reads.

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