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Biden pressures Putin to confuse Russian cybercriminals – News


US President Joe Biden speaks on Friday, July 9, 2021 before signing an executive order at the White House State Cafeteria in Washington, DC, USA.

Alex Edelman | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Washington – President Joe Biden Pressured the Russian president Vladimir Putin On a phone call Friday morning, we took steps to thwart recent ransomware attacks from a Russian-based group.

“I made it very clear [Putin] The United States expects ransomware to act when it comes from its land, even without state support, if it provides enough information to act on who it is. I’m doing it. ” Afternoon at the White House.

When asked by reporters if there was a “result” of such an attack, Biden replied “yes”.

According to the president, the United States and Russia now have regular means of communication so that each of us can communicate with each other when we each think that something is happening in another country that affects our country. Has been established. “

Overall, the call was “successful, I’m optimistic,” Biden said.

The conversation took place days after a large-scale new cyberattack by the group REvil, which is believed to be based in Russia.

Hacker gangs are demanding $ 70 million in cryptocurrencies to unlock data from attacks, which has spread to hundreds of small businesses In more than a dozen countries..

A senior government official said Friday that the United States would “take action” to respond to the attack.

“We are not going to telegram exactly what those behaviors will be. Some will be obvious and visible, some may not, but we have them for a few days. I hope it will happen in the coming weeks, “said officials. Requested anonymity to discuss delicate negotiations.

The official said shortly after Biden, who boarded Air Force One on his way to Delaware, was asked if it made sense for the United States to attack the actual server where the ransomware attack took place. Biden replied “yes”.

The latest REvil attack is part of a series of serious ransomware attacks carried out this spring and summer by a group of Russian origin.

In May, REvil targeted JBS, the world’s largest meat supplier. The company eventually paid a ransom of $ 11 million, but not before the entire US business was temporarily suspended.

Earlier that same month, another cybercrime group targeted the operators of Colonial Pipeline, the country’s largest gas pipeline. The attack forced the company to shut down its approximately 5,500-mile pipeline, cutting off nearly half of its East Coast fuel supply.

As early on Friday afternoon, the Kremlin had not yet announced its own read of Biden-Putin’s call, so it is unclear exactly how the Russian president responded to Biden’s pressure.

White House spokesman Jen Psaki told reporters Friday that there was no new information in the United States suggesting that the Kremlin was directly responsible for the attack.

Putin has consistently denied any involvement or direct knowledge of Russia’s ransomware attacks.

But the idea that Putin doesn’t know who these attackers are, U.S. officials, is that he has a firm grasp of Russian intelligence and its darker, off-book contractor network. Given that, he says he is unreliable.

In June, Biden met Putin in person in Geneva and warned the Russian president to crack down on Russian cyberattacks.

The gesture of US President Joe Biden holding a press conference after the US-Russia summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva, Switzerland, on June 16, 2021.

Kevin Lamarck | Reuters

There, Biden said he presented Putin with a list of important infrastructures. In the United States, a Russian-based cybercriminal attack would pose a serious national security threat to the United States.

“Certain critical infrastructure needs to be off-limits, duration, and off-limits by cyber or other means,” Biden said after the meeting. “I provided them with a list of 16 specific entities defined as critical infrastructure under US policy, from the energy sector to the water system.”

“So we will work with experts from both countries on a specific understanding of what is off limits and follow up on specific incidents that have occurred in either the other country or our country. I agreed, “he said.

By identifying critical infrastructure as off limits, Biden also drew a circle around targets that were likely to deserve government response if the targets were attacked by state or non-state actors. ..

So far, the White House has taken retaliation against cybercriminals themselves in several recent attacks because of the need to keep such information categorized. Or did not elaborate on what went.

On Friday’s phone call, Putin and Biden also praised each other for the collaboration the team undertook following the meeting in Geneva, according to the White House.

That work led to an important UN Security Council vote to resume providing humanitarian aid to Syria.

4 pm-This story has been updated to include comments on President Joe Biden’s phone call and remarks by senior executives.

–CNBC’s Kevin Breuninger contributed to this report.

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