Cybersecurity figured prominently at the Russo-American summit.
Cyber privateering, Russian toleration (perhaps active encouragement) of criminal cybergangs, was expected to be a major topic at Wednesday's Russo-American summit, as indeed it proved to be. Russian President Putin prepared the ground, an interview on NBC indicates, with a preemptive tu quoque: Russia does nothing that America doesn't also do. The Guardian's pre-summit take was widely shared: expectations were generally modest.
The American side raised Russian complicity in cybercrime. The Russian side offered extradition of criminals to the US if the US will honor similar Russian extradition requests. (The New York Times observes that summits are now about cyber the way they were once about nuclear weapons.)
The summit concluded after three hours of face-to-face talks. Reuters calls them "professional" as opposed to "friendly," with some expressions of a willingness to pursue matters of arms control and cybersecurity going forward. Computing reports that President Biden said that critical infrastructure should be off-limits to cyberattack, and made a not particularly veiled reference to US retaliatory capabilities. Recent ransomware attacks came up, the New York Times writes (characterizing the two countries as remaining "profoundly divided' on this and other matters) with President Biden requesting an explanation and President Putin denying any Russian involvement.
In a post-summit media availability (the two presidents did not hold a joint press conference), Mr. Biden described the discussion: "I looked at him and said: 'How would you feel if ransomware took on the pipelines from your oil fields?' He said: 'It would matter.' I pointed out to him that we have significant cyber capability. And he knows it." The New York Times reports that Russian media are calling President Biden “a man we can do business with,” and that it’s gratifying to see him recognizing Russia as a great power.