Biden calls on Putin to take measures against hacker attacks | free press

Washington / Moscow (dpa) – Following recent hacker attacks in the US and other countries, US President Joe Biden has called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to take action against the perpetrators.

In an hour-long phone call with Putin, Biden spoke of “ongoing ransomware attacks by criminals in Russia,” the White House said. Russia must take action against the responsible groups. The US is taking all necessary measures to protect its population and critical infrastructure.

Most recently, last weekend, hackers attacked hundreds of companies with blackmail software (ransomware) through a vulnerability at the American IT service provider Kaseya. The REvil group, located by experts in Russia, demanded 70 million dollars (about 59 million euros) in the digital currency Bitcoin for a master key for all affected computers.

REvil was previously behind an attack on the world’s largest meat company JBS. Before JBS, it became the operator of one of the major gasoline pipelines in the United States. Germany was already a destination.

The US has criticized two different types of hacker attacks from Russia: on the one hand by criminals, whom the US says can attack targets abroad undisturbed; on the other hand from Russian secret services to ministries, authorities and companies in the US. It has already imposed sanctions on Russia for this reason. The Russian government denies such attacks. Putin also repeatedly complains about cyber attacks on Russian authorities.

In the post-Kremlin phone call, the Russian president pointed out that despite Russia’s willingness to act collectively against “criminal incidents in the information sphere,” no inquiries have been made by US bodies in the past month. Given the gravity of the challenges, both sides must work together without “politicization”. Channels between the state structures must be used for this. Both presidents had underlined the “need for objective and constructive cooperation on cybersecurity”.

Biden has repeatedly called on Putin to take action against hackers — most recently at their two-party summit in Geneva in mid-June. There, both had agreed to start conversations about cybersecurity. Biden had also warned the Kremlin chief of the consequences if the attacks spread.

When asked if the latest attacks would have any consequences, Biden replied: “Yes.” He had made “very clear” to Putin that the US expected him to take action. White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the number of ransomware attacks had increased over the past 18 months.

According to the White House, the call also related to the UN Security Council resolution, which unanimously approved a compromise to continue essential humanitarian aid to Syria. Biden and Putin praised the joint work of their teams after the Geneva summit, which led to the unanimity. The Kremlin has made a similar statement. Putin also expressed his condolences after the collapse of a skyscraper in the US state of Florida.

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