Biden Calls on US Firms to Boost Cyber Defenses Amid Claims of Potential Russian Attack
This is not the first time that top US officials have reported new cyberattacks against US companies by hacker groups said to be directly or indirectly supported by Moscow. Russia has consistently denied allegations of cyberattacks against sovereign states.
US President Joe Biden claimed on Monday that Russia is considering the launch of new cyberattacks on the US, and has asked private companies to beef up their defenses.
In the statement shared by the White House, the president said that due to the "unprecedented economic costs we've imposed" in relation to the Kremlin's ongoing special military operation in Ukraine, the country "could conduct malicious cyber activity against the United States."
He added that his administration has "evolving intelligence that the Russian government is exploring options for potential cyberattacks," and that the private sector in the US should "harden your cyber defense immediately."
"You have the power, the capacity, and the responsibility to strengthen the cybersecurity and resilience of the critical services and technologies on which Americans rely," Biden said. "We need everyone to do their part to meet one of the defining threats of our time â€” your vigilance and urgency today can prevent or mitigate attacks tomorrow."
According to Biden, "most of America's critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector and critical infrastructure owners and operators must accelerate efforts to lock their digital doors."
"My administration will continue to use every tool to deter, disrupt, and if necessary, respond to cyberattacks against critical infrastructure. But the Federal Government can't defend against this threat alone," he added.
Also on Monday, in a briefing, US Deputy National Security Adviser for Cyber and New Technology Anne Neuberger said that while there is no "certainty" of an attack, Biden's statement is a "call to action."
"There are cyberattacks that occur every day," she said, adding that Biden's warning was meant to draw attention to "critical infrastructure." Neuberger did not indicate which industries would primarily be at risk, but asserted that all US-based commerce should "lock their digital doors."
She added that the US will respond to potential cyberattacks from Russia, but are not looking for a confrontation with Moscow. According to the official, Biden aims to "avoid war at all costs, to invest in diplomacy."
Neuberger added that the Biden administration had recently delivered confidential briefings to hundreds of US corporations that could be at risk of attack by Russian hackers.
Western countries have imposed multiple sanctions in response to the Kremlin's ongoing special military operation in Ukraine.
In response to the ongoing special military operation, many companies announced their withdrawal from the Russian market and the closure of production facilities in the country. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov noted that Western companies that refuse to work with Russia do so under enormous pressure, while additionally predicting that Russia will solve every economic problem created by the West.
Meanwhile, the White House has noted that no US companies have been asked by Washington to leave Russia.
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