The Russian Defense Ministry seeks both to protect information networks and facilities from attacks by hackers and develop offensive technologies to crack down on cybercrime, the Kommersant newspaper reported on Thursday.

"Russian military officials earlier spoke only about plans to develop means of protecting their information networks and facilities of the country's vital infrastructure from cyber attacks. But today they are not making a secret of their plans to gain offensive technologies," it said.

According to Kommersant, Russia's Defense Ministry announced a tender for research into information security issues.

Among other technologies, the Russian Armed Forces are interested in "methods and means to bypass antivirus systems, network protection means, as well as technologies to protect operating systems," it said.

Valery Yashchenko, deputy director of Moscow State University's Institute of Information Security Problems, told Kommersant that it would be "elements of cyber weaponry."

"They could be used both for defensive and offensive purposes," the expert said.

The tender will involve Russian citizens, who "have the potential and internal motivation required to tackle massive scientific and technological tasks for the benefit of the Russian Armed Forces," the newspaper said.

The Pentagon is recruiting talented hackers as well, Kommersant said.

NATO plans to hold cyber security exercises in mid-November.

Although the exercises will center on simulated events in an "African country", NATO officials admitted in informal discussions that they viewed Russia, China and Iran as the main potential cyber aggressors.

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