The White House's cybersecurity desk warriors have installed a hotline which will allow them to immediately contact Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin in the event of an online apocalypse.
The US Cybersecurity will have a direct connection to Russia’s Deputy Secretary of the Security Council, so they can report a "crisis situation arising from an ICT security incident".
This new line will be connected into the current connection between Russia and America, which apparatchiki on both side of the Atlantic call the Direct Secure Communication System, but which most people know as a hotline.
The two countries will, no doubt, be discussing China using the new line. Miscreants within the People's Republic were responsible for about 41 per cent of the world's cyber-attacks during the final quarter of last year, according to a report by online distribution network Akamai.
Both countries - Barack Obama's America and Vladimir Putin's Russia - may have some Doctor Strangelove situations to deal with in the future, if serious attacks by non-state hackers based in the two nations continue to occur.
In a statement, the White House said the hotline would allow the countries to respond to the "national security crises we face internationally".
"Both our militaries are actively examining the implications of ICTs for their planning and operations. As we work to create predictability and understanding in the political-military environment, both the US and Russian militaries have shared unclassified ICT strategies and other relevant studies with one another.
"These kinds of exchanges are important to ensuring that as we develop defense policy in this dynamic domain, we do so with a full understanding of one another’s perspectives."
There's no word on whether the telephone will be bright red to make it look more important.
The Kremlin and the White House run around-the-clock facilities called the Nuclear Risk Reduction Center, allowing them to discuss situations rather than just hit the nuke button in response to a false security threat. The cybersecurity hotline will draw upon the experience and infrastructure already established during the running of this centre.
A joint Russian and American group called the Bilateral Presidential Commission will also begin assessing emerging ICT threats and proposing "concrete joint measures to address them" later this month. Intelligence sharing operations will then begin to distribute "threat indicators" between the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), based in the Department of Homeland Security, and its Russian equivalent.
The White House added: "On a continuing basis, these two authorities will exchange technical information about malware or other malicious indicators, appearing to originate from each other’s territory, to aid in proactive mitigation of threats. This kind of exchange helps expand the volume of technical cybersecurity information available to our countries, improving our ability to protect our critical networks." ®