The U.S. and Russia have signed a cybersecurity pact that will use a 21st century "hotline" between the two countries.
In a joint statement issued by the White House, U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin call the pact "essential to safeguarding the security" of their countries.
The agreement, signed Monday at the G8 summit in Northern Ireland, aims to reduce the risk of conflict in cyberspace by creating direct, real-time communication about possible incidents. The two countries will use the channel, first established during the Cold War, to advise each other about cyber exercises, ask about cyber incidents and raise concerns if they perceive suspicious activity.
The agreement covers political, military and terrorist threats, as well as criminal activity.
Another channel will be used to exchange technical information between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and its Russian counterpart. Personal information would be removed but Internet protocol addresses of networks determined to host malicious activity could be shared.
The United States and Russia already recognize that the law of armed conflict applies in cyberspace, and China recently indicated it agrees with that principle. U.S. officials reportedly have privately expressed hope that a similar pact could be signed with China.