President Joe Biden on Monday warned of intelligence showing a growing Russian cyber threat and he urged U.S. businesses to “immediately” provide defenses.
“If you have not already done so, I urge our private sector partners to harden your cyber defenses immediately,” he said in a statement.
Biden cited “growing intelligence that the Russian government is exploring options for potential cyber attacks,” including in response to Western sanctions over Moscow’s launch of the war in Ukraine.
“It’s part of the Russian game book,” he said.
Biden said the government will “continue to use every tool to deter, disrupt, and if necessary, respond to cyber attacks on critical infrastructure.”
However, he underlined that most of the critical infrastructure in the country is owned and operated by private entities, which cannot be forced to take certain cyber security measures.
“Owners and operators must speed up efforts to lock their digital doors,” he said.
“You have the power, capacity and responsibility to strengthen the cybersecurity and resilience of the critical services and technologies on which the American people depend. We need everyone to do their part,” Biden said.
U.S. authorities have said that everything from fuel supply routes to water supplies is at risk from cyber attacks, as well as identifying Russian hackers as one of the main threats.
Deputy National Security Adviser for Cyber and Emerging Technologies Anne Neuberger told reporters that despite Biden’s warning, “there is no certainty that there will be cyber incidents on critical infrastructure.”
There was “preparatory activity” detected but no sign of a “specific” attack.
And, despite the government’s efforts to increase coordination and assistance in the area of cybersecurity, “there is much more we need to do to have confidence that we have locked our digital doors,” he said.
In some areas the gap is “very worrying,” he said.
Neuberger reiterated an earlier White House warning that if Russia targets critical infrastructure, “we will be prepared to respond.”
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