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Iran Press TV

Biden planning to launch 'clandestine' retaliatory cyberattacks against Russia: US report

Iran Press TV

Monday, 08 March 2021 3:26 PM

The administration of US President Joe Biden is planning a series of cyberattacks against Russia in the wake of large-scale hacking of American government agencies and corporations discovered late last year, a US report said.

The New York Times reported that a series of clandestine actions across Russian networks that are intended to be evident to President Vladimir Putin and his intelligence services and military but not to the wider world is expected over the next three weeks.

Citing officials familiar with the operation, the Times said the allegedly imminent cyberattack will likely coincide with new economic sanctions against Moscow.

The officials said the actions would also be combined with an executive order from Biden to accelerate the hardening of federal government networks after the hacking.

Jake Sullivan, Biden's national security adviser, said that, "I actually believe that a set of measures that are understood by the Russians, but may not be visible to the broader world, are actually likely to be the most effective measures in terms of clarifying what the United States believes are in bounds and out of bounds, and what we are prepared to do in response."

The Times described the alleged clandestine operations as a "retaliatory measure" in response to last year's high-profile hack, which provided backdoor access to a widely used network-management program distributed by SolarWinds, a major US information technology company based in Texas.

US officials said at the time that foreign hackers had been able to use the hack to spy on US companies like cybersecurity firm FireEye, and the US federal agencies including the Department of Homeland Security and Treasury Department.

Private American companies, like Microsoft, Cisco and Intel, and Deloitte, and organizations like the California Department of State Hospitals, and Kent State University were also attacked.

After the hack was detected in December, all US federal agencies were told to disconnect from SolarWinds Orion, a computer network tool being exploited by "malicious actors".

US intelligence agencies claimed that the SolarWinds hack was "likely Russian in origin," without supplying any proof to back that the charge.

Moscow has denied any involvement, calling the accusation "yet another unsubstantiated attempt" by the US to smear Russia.

The Time's report came days after FireEye warned of an imminent cyber-war, saying Americans will be targeted by the next big cyber-attack, whether they know it or not.

FireEye said that, "The next conflict where the gloves come off in cyber, the American citizen will be dragged into it, whether they want to be or not.

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