Biden warns of ‘real war’ over cyber attacks | free press


Washington (AP) – US President Joe Biden has warned of war following a large-scale cyberattack.

“If we end up in a war, a real war with a great power, then as a result of a cyber attack of great magnitude,” he said on Tuesday (local time) during the first visit to the Office of Intelligence Coordination (ODNI) since his departure. take office. “And the possibilities (for such a cyber attack) are increasing exponentially,” he added. Most recently, the US blamed both China and Russia for major cyberattacks.

The US government and several allies recently accused China of “irresponsible malicious cyber activities”. The allegations also came from the EU, Britain, NATO and other partners. The US sees, among others, China behind the attack on the e-mail software Exchange Server of the American group Microsoft in March.

As for Russia, the US criticizes two different types of hacker attacks: on the one hand, by criminals who, according to US reports, can attack targets abroad undisturbed; on the other hand from Russian secret services to ministries, authorities and companies in the US. For this reason, you have already imposed sanctions on Russia. The Russian government denies such attacks.

It wasn’t until early July that hackers attacked hundreds of companies with blackmail software 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. A few weeks ago, the same group was behind the attack on the world’s largest meat company JBS. As a result, the company had to close factories for several days, including in the US. JBS paid the attackers the equivalent of $11 million in cryptocurrencies.

A few weeks before JBS, it hit the operator of one of the most important gasoline pipelines in the United States. The shutdown of the pumps led in part to panic buying on the east coast of the US. The operating company Colonial paid the hackers $4.4 million – a good half of which, however, was confiscated online by the FBI a little later.

“We have seen cyber threats, including ransomware attacks, that are increasingly capable of causing damage and disruption in the real world,” said Biden. And literally further: «I cannot guarantee that, and you are as well informed as I am, but I think it is more likely (…) if we end up in a war, a real war with great power, than Consequences of a cyber-attack of major proportions.”

Amid high tensions over recent hacker attacks, Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed at a summit in Geneva in June that their governments would start talking about cybersecurity. It should be about addressing specific cases and defining targets that should be taboo for attacks. Biden had given Moscow a list of 16 areas with critical US infrastructure that should not be attacked by hackers. According to the US government, these include the food and energy sectors, transportation and communications networks, banks and healthcare facilities.

The US government on Wednesday presented plans to improve the protection of such critical infrastructures. Among other things, the US Cyber ​​and Infrastructure Security Authority (CISA) must develop targets together with other agencies that private operators must adhere to to protect their systems. A senior government official said the state cannot act alone, industry must do its part. Nearly 90 percent of critical infrastructure in the US is privately owned. Initially, voluntary measures are planned to improve protection. The government is also considering imposing mandatory requirements to strengthen cybersecurity. There are currently no systematic regulations, only patches. Given the growing threat, this is “insufficient”.

In his speech on Tuesday at the intelligence coordination office, which oversees 17 U.S. intelligence agencies, Biden also struggled to repair past damage. His Republican predecessor Donald Trump had sharply criticized the intelligence services and, for example, questioned the findings of the American secret services about Russian interference in the American elections in 2016. Trump then deceived his own people.

On the other hand, Biden expressed confidence in the assembled Secret Service employees and promised never to “politicize” their work. Looking at Moscow and Putin, Biden said: “He knows you’re better than his own team — and that really annoys him.”