Aleksandr Pankov, Roskomnadzor: ''Initially, the Internet was perceived as a territory of absolute freedom''
On the final day of SPIEF, a session devoted to a rapid dissemination of cyber threats in all spheres of our life was held in Expoforum. The correspondent of Realnoe Vremya, who attended the discussion, got acquainted with the prevalence of online crime in the world, as well as communicated with First Deputy Head of Roskomnadzor Aleksandr Pankov about the authorities' attention to Telegram messenger and the assistance of social networks in blocking of ''groups of death''.
''The average size of ransom that cyber criminals demanded in 2016 rose by 266%''
The proliferation of cyber threats in recent years has an avalanche character, it is easily confirmed by a number of victims of network attacks. Among the victims there are banks, private companies and even government services. In addition, hackers managed to contribute to world politics by leaking a number of official documents and revealing a few offshore schemes. The average user has also fallen in this list — suffice it to recall last year's ''largest cyber attack in history'' — the stealing of accounts and passwords of 500 million users of Yahoo.
According to the figures announced by the moderator of the session, Director of the Association of electronic communications Sergey Plugotarenko, currently in different countries around the world there are at least 40 millions of cyber criminals, and the approximate damage caused by their actions is estimated at $500 billion. At the same time, a number of virus attacks in the world is growing by about 3% a month, attacks on web services — by 2,5%, while the number of thefts of money from various devices or e-wallets — by 3,5%.
''A number of unknown malware continues to grow: researchers have discovered a ninefold increase in the number of unknown programs attacking organizations. Each month experts find almost 12 million new malware variants. Over the past two years such findings have been more than in the whole past decade. Cyber attacks on business in 2016 was directed primarily at financial institutions. According to a Kaspersky Lab's study, in 2016 every fifth company worldwide has faced at least one incident of IT security in the result of attacks with the use of ransomware. The average size of ransom that cyber criminals demanded from their victims in 2016 rose by 266%,'' said the moderator.
First Deputy Head of Roskomnadzor Aleksandr Pankov spoke about the threat to the personal safety of the user, saying that the risk on the Internet is directly linked with the emergence of mobile devices.
''A particular user is forced to give the organizers of the transaction a large amount of personal information. This provokes an emergence of new legislation acts in this area. The problem of analysing large amounts of user information collected in the Network is being actively discussed, but a necessary regulatory framework in this sphere has not been created yet,'' noted Pankov.
The invited experts also touched upon the topic of security of financial systems. For example, chief economist of Microsoft Preston McAfee drew the attention of the participants to the danger inherent in the close connection of the modern economy with IT.
''Imagine that the electrical system goes out of order: if there is such accident, half the population of the planet will not survive. If the Internet turns off, the economy will collapse. All these industries are highly interrelated. We're talking about the ability of global systems to resist all kinds of cyber threats. We need to thoroughly examine and analyze the problems, it will allow us to protect the business and economy,'' said McAfee.
''Absolute freedom is very good, but...''
Mr Pankov, thank you for the informative discussion, but I would like to deviate from the main theme and to discuss with you the following thing: in recent months, the focus is being put on the messengers and various crypto channels. This agenda forces me to ask your opinion on Telegram — why does it get so much attention on the part of the authorities, including Roskomnadzor?
Why it is being paid so much attention — I don't know. Messengers are many, market participants, whom we call the organizers of the dissemination of information, are even more. We work with a large number of market subjects, and why particularly Telegram [in the spotlight] — I can't say.
What about the special algorithm for encryption of messages?
All messages are encrypted. The technical details of what exactly is encrypted: as for Telegram — it is session, iMessage — the same session, but it is encrypted differently, Viber, WhatsApp also have encryption, but they use centralized session encryption, and somewhere on the client device the keys are generated. But the essence is the same — they are all encrypted. Telegram technologically has different nuances.
And it's not even about the telegram channels?
Viber also has them. Functionally, the messengers do not differ from each other.
But Telegram is the major generator of anonymous crypto channels with a huge audience, including on political, opposition topics. After all, it is not a coincidence that German Klimenko previously proposed to equate telegram-channels to the media...
I may seem boring to you (laughs), but I'm an enforcer, and I have a norm, which I execute, and Advisor to the President — he is a politician. Why has he focused the attention on Telegram, I cannot say. By the way, he was not the first, if you look at it: as I remember it, his comment in the address of Telegram was a kind of response to someone's question. It is not like he raised the discussion — he participated in it.
Messengers are many, market participants, whom we call the organizers of the dissemination of information, are even more. We work with a large number of market subjects, and why particularly Telegram [in the spotlight] — I can't say. Photo: 360tv.ru
Ok, Mr Pankov, here is another question: the other day it became known that from the beginning of 2017, Roskomnadzor has blocked more than 9,000 so-called ''groups of death''. Could you tell us more about their search and selection process?
The social media monitoring is conducted on a number of grounds, and all this is done in close interaction with the administrations of social networks. And thank a lot, by the way, to the administration, because, quite frankly, the interactions of the regulator and market participants go differently, but there is full understanding that there is such problem, that it has been revealed and that it is serious.
Aleksandr Pankov: ''Absolute freedom is very good, but the joy of this freedom ends at the moment when you suddenly realize that in your personal space there is another person, using your resources and personal data''
Mr Pankov, What do you think about the Great Chinese firewall? Is it worth to apply this model in relation to Russia?
If you look at this issue globally, there is a debate between supporters of absolute freedom in the Network – it is one pole, and the other extreme flank is an absolute regulation. In fact, the task of the state, all participants in this debate — to choose the balance point.
Absolute freedom is very good, but the joy of this freedom ends at the moment when you suddenly realize that in your personal space there is another person, using your resources and personal data. This person is also free.
It is very important to find the balance point, when, on the one hand, there are tools that constrain and enable to develop the industry as a whole and not severely limit the scope of a particular person.
On the other hand, the state has the tools that allow to influence the attackers in the network. Serious scale of cybercrime today is largely a consequence of the fact that at the initial stage of Network development (both in the West and in Russia) the Internet was perceived as a territory of absolute freedom.