Report: Russia, China near cybersecurity deal

Russian President Vladimir Putin is close to finalizing a cybersecurity cooperation agreement with China, according to Russian media reports.

The pact would allow the two countries to conduct joint cybersecurity operations.

Russian-language newspaper Kommersant — owned by Russia’s richest man, according to Forbes and an ally of Putin’s — first reported the news, citing anonymous sources “close to the Kremlin.” The state-owned news service RT later picked up the report.

The Russia-China treaty language would require both countries to not use information technology to infringe on an independent state’s sovereignty, government or economy.

The two countries are planning to sign the treaty on Nov. 10, during Putin’s trip to China, where he will also speak on cybersecurity, according to the report.

A number of cybersecurity experts said they could not confirm the report.

The State Department and Defense Department did not respond to requests for comment.

Tensions are running high between the U.S., Russia and China over cybersecurity. 

The U.S. extradited and is now prosecuting an alleged Russian hacker in U.S. federal court. And China recently chastised Americans for killing potential cybersecurity talks ahead of a November summit.

The U.S. and Russia in 2013 did sign a cybersecurity agreement during a Group of Eight summit. But it was not nearly as broad as the reported Russia-China compact.

The U.S.-Russia accord created a hotline between the two countries to warn each other about cyber exercises that might be perceived as cyberattacks. The pair also agreed to an exchange of technical expertise and a joint cyber working group.

“By working together, we not only increase security and prosperity for the Russian and American people, but also help lead the world to a better place,” President Obama said at the time.