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Biden Warns U.S. Private Sector Of Russian Cyberattacks, Citing 'Evolving Evidence'

By RFE/RL March 21, 2022

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Joe Biden has warned the nation's businesses and nongovernmental organizations to immediately "harden" their defenses against potential cyberattacks by the Russian government, citing "evolving intelligence" of such plans by the Kremlin.

"I urge our private-sector partners to harden your cyberdefenses immediately.... We need everyone to do their part to meet one of the defining threats of our time," Biden said in a White House statement on March 21.

U.S. officials have long accused Russian actors of cyberattacks on American individuals, organizations, and governments, often in Kremlin-led actions.

Experts have warned about the increased dangers of such attacks following Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the West's tough response of sanctions and military aid to Kyiv.

"This is a critical moment to accelerate our work to improve domestic cybersecurity and bolster our national resilience," Biden said.

"I have previously warned about the potential that Russia could conduct malicious cyberactivity against the United States, including as a response to the unprecedented economic costs we've imposed on Russia alongside our allies and partners," he added, calling it "part of Russia's playbook."

He said the latest warnings are based on "evolving intelligence" that the Kremlin is exploring options for potential cyberattacks. He did not give specifics.

He said the federal government will step up defensive actions but urged others to increase efforts to protect critical infrastructure.

"If you have not already done so, I urge our private-sector partners to harden your cyberdefenses immediately by implementing the best practices we have developed together over the last year," he said.

In February, several Ukrainian government websites and the websites of some Ukrainian banks went offline in what the Kyiv government said was an apparent cyberattack by Russian actors.

The websites of the parliament, the cabinet, and the Ministry of Reintegration of the Occupied Territories were among those that were inaccessible.

The government said the attack was a distributed denial of service (DDoS) -- a type of attack that overwhelms websites by sending a large number of requests at once.

Moscow denied any involvement.

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/biden-russia-cyberattack- warning-ukraine/31763746.html

Copyright (c) 2022. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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