Biden Says Russia ‘Exploring Options’ for Potential Cyber Attacks, Warns Private Sector

Nick Ciolino
By Nick Ciolino
March 21, 2022Politicsshare
Biden Says Russia ‘Exploring Options’ for Potential Cyber Attacks, Warns Private Sector
U.S. President Joe Biden departs the White House in Washington, on March 18, 2022. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Joe Biden is issuing a “call to action” to the U.S. private sector to prepare for potential cyber attacks from Russia.

In a statement Monday, Biden said his administration is reiterating warnings “based on evolving intelligence that the Russian Government is exploring options for potential cyberattacks.”

White House cyber security adviser Anne Neuberger later clarified that while there is no evidence that Russia is pursuing “specific” plans for a cyber attack against the United States, intelligence has shown some “preparatory” activity from the Kremlin.

“To be clear, there is no certainty there will be a cyber incident against critical infrastructure in the United States,” Neuberger told reporters at a press briefing shortly after the president’s statement was released.

Neuberger says federal agencies briefed more than 100 private companies last week with classified information detailing the specifics of the Russian cybersecurity threat, and that Monday’s declassified warning goes out to the broader private sector at large. She notes that most of the U.S. critical infrastructure is controlled by private companies.

“I won’t get into specific sectors at this time because the steps that are needed to lock our digital doors need to be done across every sector of critical infrastructure,” said Neuberger. “And even those sectors that we do not see any specific threat intelligence for, we truly want those sectors. to double down and do the work that’s needed.”

A release from the White House calls on all private companies to take several measures “with urgency” to sure up their digital security. These include putting in place multi-factor authentication, modernizing security tools as well as backing up and encrypting data.

Biden’s statement notes the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has been actively working with companies in control of critical infrastructure through its “Shields Up” program to help protect against cyber threats.

The United States has blamed Russia for several cyber attacks against Ukraine ahead of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, and officials say Russia continues to use cyber attacks against Ukraine amid the ongoing war.

Biden’s warning to the U.S. private sector comes on the same day Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the U.S. ambassador in Moscow that Biden’s comments referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin as a war criminal have strained ties between the two countries to “the verge of breaking.”

“I think it’s important to remind everyone that it is Russia who’s carrying out an unprovoked and unjustified war on Ukraine,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki in response to the comments from Moscow. “We’re seeing clear evidence that they’re intentionally targeting civilians and committing indiscriminate attacks. The President’s comments speak to the horror of the brutality that Russia and President Putin are inflicting.”

The United States and its allies have responded to Russia’s weeks-long invasion of Ukraine by imposing sanctions on Russian financial systems and individuals in Putin’s inner circle. The United States has also banned the import of Russian oil, along with other Group of Seven (G-7) nations, and moved to end Russia’s normal trade relation status, making it more difficult for Russia to do business with the West.

Biden has said repeatedly he is seeking to avoid a broader military conflict with Russia and is not sending troops to fight in Ukraine. Neuberger told reporters Monday that the United States “would respond” in the event of a Russian cyberattack against U.S. infrastructure.

From The Epoch Times

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