Russia hacking claims pose challenge for Biden In Geneva last month, US President Joe Biden tried to line some ground rules for his Russian counterpart, Putin .
He said cyber attacks on critical infrastructure were “off limits”.
“I checked out him and said how would you are feeling if ransomware took on the pipelines from your oil fields? He said it might matter,” Mr Biden said,
He went on to mention that if Russia violated these “basic norms” the US would retaliate.
The events of the previous couple of days will test that claim.
hacking On Monday, Bloomberg reported that Synnex, a third-party provider employed by the Republican National Committee (RNC), had been breached last week.
hacking In a statement, the RNC Chief of Staff Richard Walters said he didn’t believe the hackers had infiltrated its systems.
The “supply chain” hack (where a corporation that gives IT functions to several other companies is hacked) followed another large-scale attack that was revealed on Friday.
hacking Ransom demands
This time ransomware was wont to infiltrate IT company Kaseya and its clients. Early estimates suggests that many businesses had their data scrambled within the hack.
The attacks were different a la mode , but shared one crucial similarity. They were both linked to Russia.
REvil, a prolific, Russia-linked cybercrime syndicate, took credit for the attack revealed on Friday.
The hackers demanded $70 million to revive the affected businesses’ data.
hacking The attempted hack the RNC was reportedly undertaken by a gaggle referred to as Cozy Bear. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because they were accused of breaching the Democratic National Committee in 2016.
They’ve also been linked to the large SolarWinds hack that infiltrated a slew of state agencies – revealed in December.
hacking On Tuesday Joe Biden told reporters that the Kaseya attack “appears to possess caused minimal damage to US businesses, but we’re still gathering information”.
“I feel good about our ability to be ready to respond,” he says.
Some analysts differentiate between the 2 attacks.
Dmitri Alperovitch, a cyber security expert and chairman of the Silverado Policy Accelerator, believes the attack aimed toward the RNC is conventional spying.
“This looks considerably like traditional espionage, which we’re never getting to stop. neither is it in our interest to prevent it, because we would like to conduct espionage against Russia and China.”
However, Alperovitch believes that REvil’s attack on Kaseya – an attack that has hurt many businesses in America – may be a different story.
“It’s disruptive in nature. Small businesses everywhere the country are struggling immediately . we will not tolerate that”, he says.
If Joe Biden wants to retaliate, he features a number of options.
Sanctions are the normal way that the US has looked to harm Russia.
However there are other options President Biden could choose . Firstly, he could look to focus on REvil themselves.
hacking Last year the Washington Post reported that US Cyber Command launched a campaign to disrupt Trickbot, described because the world’s largest botnet, to mitigate its potential interference within the presidential election.
hacking “Ultimately, what works is taking these actors off the battlefield. And you’ll only accomplish that through enforcement action. during this particular case through Russian enforcement action”, says Alperovitch.
This would be the president’s preferred option – to convince Mr Putin that it’s in his interest to shut down ransomware groups. However, Mr Biden may feel the time for words has come and gone.
By laying down the law in Geneva so clearly, Joe Biden may now feel he has got to act.
Certainly, a bit like the US military, the US president features a cyber operation which will quite hold its own during a fight.
The question now’s to what extent Mr Biden chooses to use it.