Biden warns private sector of possible Russian cyber attack
President Biden warned on Monday that Russia was exploring a potential cyberattack against the United States in retaliation for the economic penalty imposed on Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.
In a statement issued days before he is set to travel to Brussels for the NATO summit, Mr Biden encouraged private sector companies in the United States to strengthen their cyber security against possible breaches by Russia.
“This is part of Russia’s playbook,” Mr Biden said in the statement. “Today, my administration is reiterating the warnings that the Russian government is exploring possible cyber-attack options based on developed intelligence.”
According to Anne Neuberger, Biden’s deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technology, the administration has no evidence of a specific, credible potential cyberattack against the United States, but rather “preliminary activity targeting critical infrastructure.” ” Is.
This is not the first time the United States has warned that Russia could hack American companies as war rages in Ukraine. Ms Neuberger said Monday’s warning was an attempt by the Biden administration to raise awareness of Russia’s ability to launch a digital attack against US infrastructure.
Ms Neuberger said the administration has recently observed “preliminary activity” for potential hacking of US infrastructure, and shared that information with companies in a classified briefing last week. Such activity may include scanning websites for vulnerabilities. Ms Neuberger clarified that there was still an active threat of Russian hacking against critical infrastructure, including oil and energy companies and hospital systems.
“We need to do much more to believe that we have closed our digital doors, especially for the critical services that Americans rely on,” Ms Neuberger said, noting that most American critical infrastructure is managed by the private sector. “Those owners and operators have the capacity and responsibility to harden the systems and networks we all rely on.”
The White House last week briefed more than 100 companies in the United States about the best ways to protect against cyberattacks. The administration on Monday directed companies to “immediately harden their cyber security”, recommending measures such as enabling multifactor authentication, ensuring offline backup of data and educating employees on hacking methods.
“You have the power, capability and responsibility to strengthen the cyber security and resilience of critical services and technologies that Americans rely on,” Mr Biden said in the statement.
Ms Neuberger said Russia is still carrying out cyber activity against Ukraine. Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, said in mid-February that a cyber attack that month against the websites of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry and the military, as well as the interfaces of the country’s two largest banks, were “traces of foreign intelligence services”. “
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