Biden calls on Putin that Russia must take action against cyber criminals


WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden said in a phone call to Russian President Vladimir Putin that he must “take action” against cybercriminals acting in his country and that the US reserves the right to “its people and their critical infrastructure to defend against the future ”. Attacks. said the White House.

Friday’s warning to Putin was largely a reiteration of the harsh rhetoric Biden used at their meeting in Geneva last month when he warned there would be ramifications to ongoing cyberattacks from Russia. Since then, a new ransomware attack related to the Russia-based REvil hacking group has resulted in widespread disruption, putting increasing pressure on Biden to combine the warning with action this time around – although none were immediately announced.

“I made it very clear to him that the United States expects that if a ransomware operation comes off its soil even though it’s not state sponsored, we expect them to act if we give them enough information to act who that is, ”said Biden, speaking to reporters at an economic competitiveness event. When asked if there will be any consequences, he said: “Yes”.

The call to Putin underscored the extent to which the ransomware threat from criminal hacking gangs has become an urgent national security challenge for the White House, and it suggested a possible admission by the government that previous warnings to the Russian leader were not a containment criminal activity directed against companies around the world.

A White House statement announcing the hour-long phone call also highlighted a US-Russian deal that will allow humanitarian aid to flow into Syria. The dual agenda shows that while Biden promises to hit Russia hard in hacking attacks, there is a desire to avoid escalating tensions as the government looks to Russia for US action in other areas, or at least not to cooperate including Syria, the withdrawal from Afghanistan and climate change.

In his call with Putin, Biden not only reiterated that Russia must take action and that the US is ready to respond, but also stressed that he is committed to continuing engagement against the wider threat posed by ransomware, ”the White House said .

Biden told reporters that the US and Russia “now have a regular means of communication in place to communicate with each other when each of us thinks something is happening in another country that affects our home country. And so it went well. I am optimistic. “

In its own summing up of the appeal, the Kremlin said: “Putin noted that despite the willingness of the Russian side to jointly stop criminal information activities, US authorities had not made any motions in the past month.”

The Kremlin said the two heads of state and government stressed the need for cooperation on cybersecurity, which “needs to be permanent, professional, non-politicized and through dedicated communication channels … and respecting international law“.

The Kremlin statement also noted that Biden and Putin touched the situation in Syria “with particular emphasis on humanitarian issues” and “a positive assessment of the coordination of Russian and US efforts on this issue, including in the UN Security Council”, would have given up.

The White House declined to discuss the tone of Biden’s call, despite press secretary Jen Psaki saying it was focusing heavily on the latest security breach that cybersecurity researchers said were infected victims in at least 17 countries, mostly by corporations, who remotely manage the IT infrastructure for multiple customers.

Although Biden had previously said the attack caused “minimal damage” and did not appear to target vital infrastructure, the sheer global dimension and the fact that it took place so soon after the Geneva meeting put immediate pressure on the government, sort of to have the answer.

The officials did not immediately announce specific actions that they would take or consider. There are few simple options to resolve the threat without risking a conflict that could spiral out of control outside the realm of cybersecurity.

The Biden government took office after a massive cyber espionage campaign called SolarWinds that put US officials in touch with Russian intelligence officials. But ransomware attacks, which are generally carried out by criminal hacker gangs rather than state sponsored hackers, appear to have dwarfed old-fashioned espionage as a major threat.

An attack on a pipeline in May, which supplies roughly half the fuel consumed on the east coast, caused the company to temporarily cease operations. Colonial Pipeline paid around $ 4.4 million in ransom, although US authorities were able to reclaim a large portion of that sum in a law enforcement operation last month.

Hackers also recently extorted a $ 11 million ransom from JBS SA, the world’s largest meat processor.

Associate press writer Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report.


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