The world has come a long way from being threatened merely by nukes and missiles to now being also threatened by mass-launched cyber attacks. And that is precisely why, the two leading super powers of the world, US and Russia, are now trying to create a direct line of communication between the two nations so as to discuss any possible cyber attacks in the future.
A secure ‘red phone’ hotline is usually established to discuss something that is imminent and of grave consequences. For instance, back in 1988, Nuclear Risk Reduction Center (NRRC) was established by the US State Department. The very purpose of its creation was to initiate a direct line of communication between the two countries so that there may not be any misunderstandings between the two. For instance, a space shuttle launched by Russia may be misconstrued as an act of aggression at US if Russians don’t dial the red hotline and let their counterparts know that its nothing unusual.
That was back in the days when cold war had chilled the relations between the two and a red phone hotline was needed to avert any serious nuclear tussle between the two.
But over the years, we have now moved into a digital age where the whole world is an inter-connected mesh of computers. In such a scenario, a cyber attack waged against a nation is also an act of aggression and carries great significance. It is precisely for this reason that NRRC is now trying to establish a channel of communication between US and Russia to directly discuss, and diffuse, any online attacks before they become severe.
It must be noted here that petty criminal activities such as identity theft wouldn’t fall under this category. Rather, apparently, the hotline will be ringing only in case a cyber attack is so massive that it may threaten national security of a country.