Paul Abbate, deputy director at the FBI, says there are no signs that Russia is cracking down on Russian hackers responsible for cyber-attacks against the US. He says the government has asked Russian President Vladimir Putin for help, but he is not taking any action. In his view, nothing has changed in the Kremlin’s attitude.
Biden wants Putin to take action against Russian hackers
SolarWinds, Colonial Pipeline, JBS, Kaseya: the US has been hit several times this year by large-scale and socially disruptive cyber attacks. In June, US President Biden ran out of patience. He reached out to his Russian counterpart Putin to discuss cyber-attacks on US soil carried out by Russian hackers. Biden told Putin he expects Russia to take action against Russian hackers who attack American targets, even if the Kremlin has not ordered it.
Biden also gave the Russian president a warning: If the Russian government is unable or refuses to take action against hackers carrying out cyber attacks, the US will take matters into its own hands. Biden told Reuters news agency, reporters, that he believes his message has been delivered to the Russians and that they will cooperate.
“Responsible countries must take action against criminals carrying out ransomware activities on their territory. So we agreed to task experts from our two countries to work out specific agreements about what is off-limits and follow up on specific cases originating in other countries, in either of our countries,” Biden said.
Biden prepares for retaliation
According to insiders, President Biden has ordered preparations for retaliation against the Russians. “We are not going to reveal exactly what those actions will be. Some will be clear and visible, some may not. But we expect them to be implemented in the coming days or weeks,” a senior government official told Reuters. REvil’s short-lived disappearance is attributed to him by some.
‘Nothing has changed in Russia’s position’
FBI chief Paul Abbate sees it differently. He believes that nothing has changed in the attitude of the Russians. In a public forum on Tuesday, he said there was no indication that the Russian government has taken measures to stop cyber attacks and other activities by Russian hackers against the US.
“Based on what we’ve seen, I’d say there’s no indication that the Russian government has taken action to crack down on ransomware actors operating in the permissive environment they’ve created there,” Abbate said at a panel. at the Intelligence and National Security Summit. “We have asked for help and cooperation with those we know are in Russia and against whom we have filed charges. We haven’t seen any action, so I’d say nothing has changed in that regard.”
Anne Neuberger, the deputy national security adviser for the Cyber and Emerging Technology Committee, said earlier this month that talks with the Russians are still ongoing. President Biden would also look for a solution that would not involve retaliation.
Hackers may be waiting for the storm to pass
National Cyber Director Chris Inglis thinks it is too early to say whether Russian cyberattacks have been stopped permanently. “I think we can honestly say that Russian hackers have deconstructed themselves. They’ve essentially gone into hiding to see if the storm will blow over and if they can then come back. What I think will make the difference is whether Vladimir Putin and others who have the power to enforce the law, international law as we know and see it, will keep them from coming back,” Inglis said.
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