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Russian government officials have announced they intend to create a designated military unit devoted to preventing cyber-based attacks from disrupting vital systems devoted to Russian military operations.

The new unit is expected to be fully operational by 2017 and is intended “to defend Russian armed forces’ critical infrastructure from computer attacks,” according to statements made by Maj. Gen. Yuri Kuznetso that coincided with news that the Obama Administration had tapped Navy Vice Admiral Michael S. Rogers to head up the NSA and the U.S. Cyber Command after General Keith Alexander retires this spring.

Russian officials have been pushing to bolster the nation’s cyber defense capabilities since malicious agents like Duqu, Stuxnet and Flame appeared in the wild, and last year the Russian Interior Ministry announced it allocate $1.3 million in spending for security security initiatives designed to protect its computer networks and synchronize with intrusion-prevention systems employed by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB).

The development of advanced modular malware, supposedly at the behest of nation states, has ramped up the rhetoric regarding the potential for a cyberweapons arms race and the further militarizing of the Internet.

“What was previously considered to be the domain of semi-criminal marginal groups or a cheap way of expressing sociopathy is now attracting the interest of governments, who are considering producing weaponized software on an industrial scale,” wrote RIA Novosti commentator Konstantin Bogdanov last summer.

“The world is getting ready for a new arms race—this time in cyber weapons,” Bogdanov said.

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