U.S., Russia Renew Cybersecurity Cooperation: FSB Head

Russia’s security service FSB said Thursday it is now reviving cooperation with American agencies on cybersecurity issues despite major tensions between the two countries, TASS reported citing the agency’s head Alexander Bortnikov. 

 “We are restoring those relations,” FSB’s chief told journalists in comments carried by the news agency, despite trading accusations of cyber attacks in recent years.

“We discuss a lot of questions with the Americans, including about providing information security and cyber security,” Bortnikov said. He cited as an example that “just recently the American secret services provided Russia with information on specific people and plans to carry out terroritst attacks in our country.”

The Russians and Americans “have always had working relations irrespective of the situation in political relations between our countries,” said Bortnikov. Allegations of Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. elections won by Donald Trump with the use of hackers and social media have plunged relations to a post-Cold War low.

Last year Washington and London accused the Russian state of “malicious cyber activity” affecting governments, companies and vital infrastructure around the world. Moscow has come under suspicion over major cyber attacks in recent years that hit the U.S. Democrats, the World Anti-Doping Agency and Odessa airport in Ukraine. Russia has strongly denied these attacks, arguing that it has itself fallen victim to U.S. cyber attacks on state institutions, the national grid and financial establishments.

In June, The New York Times revealed that the U.S. was in fact carrying out attacks that hacked into Russia’s national grid. In December 2017, Putin thanked Trump for the CIA’s help in thwarting a planned attack in the northwestern city of Saint Petersburg.