In light of ongoing ransomware attacks originating in Russia, President Joe Biden telephoned Vladimir Putin on Friday, stressing that Russia should take action against cybercriminals operating within its borders, adding that the United States will take “all necessary actions” to defend itself from the future attacks.
Whether it is colonial pipeline attack or JBS attacks it threatened the supply of pork to the Americans, the gangs of ransomware that have claimed responsibility for this year’s biggest hacking are constantly coming from Eastern Europe, usually Russia.
Now, with seriousness and scope the recent Kasey attack, which took place over the weekend of July 4, and allegedly carried it out Russian cyber gang REvil, increasing pressure on the Biden administration to do something to stop the seemingly relentless wave of cyber massacres – with the prevailing wisdom that Biden should force Putin to address the issue internally. On top of everything, apparent hack The Republican National Committee just a week ago – allegedly in the hands of Russian government spies – just added fuel to the fire.
So, a phone call. The call, which happened at some point on Friday, came just weeks after the two leaders met during summit in Geneva to discuss, among other things, ongoing cyber attacks. At the time, Biden said the conversation between them was “good, positive” and that the two of them were discussing some cybersecurity strategies – although, apparently, those strategies haven’t paid off yet.
During the press this afternoon, a reporter caught Biden on his way out of the door, and the two had a brief exchange about the president’s conversation with the Russian leader (via a video he provided Washington Post):
REPORTER: How did Putin respond to your call today, sir?
BIDEN: Well, I’ve made it clear to him that the United States expects, when ransomware operations come from its soil, even though it’s not sponsored by the state, we expect them to act, if they get enough information to act on who it is. And second, that we have now established means of communication on a regular basis, so that we can communicate with each other when each of us thinks that something is going on in another country that affects the home country. And so it went well. I am optimistic.
REPORTER: Three weeks ago you said there would be a consequence. Will it be, sir?
The obvious question is: Uh, yes, but what will be the consequences? And is it appropriate to betray them if it cannot be confirmed that the Russian government is in some way playing a role in these attacks (common wisdom says they are not – even though it is something of gray area). It’s all pretty vague.
As I already wrote in a certain length, it was interesting to watch people who seemed to assume that Biden would come to duty and, after meeting with Putin, immediately move him across the room or something. No, diplomacy is still a thing and, despite some foreign policy decisions that literally no one wants to be made, it is almost the only way the White House will persuade Russia to do anything.
Interestingly, there seem to be some differences between Russia and the US about how well this whole thing is going with diplomacy.
On Friday, Putin apparently told Biden that Russia was ready to cooperate with the United States on the issue of ransomware, but that “US law enforcement agencies did not turn to Russian authorities” to discuss the attacks. reports the Washington Post– which, if you listen to Biden’s officials, is not true.
In fact, a senior Biden administration official shattered the narrative: “We have conveyed to Moscow multiple specific demands to act against cybercriminals,” and it was clear to us what Russia’s responsibility is to take action, including today, “the newspaper was told.