Last month, Mr Biden used the summit with Mr Putin to make the case that ransomware was emerging as an even bigger threat, causing the kind of economic disruption that no state can tolerate. Could have done. Mr Biden specifically cited stopping the flow of gasoline to the East Coast Colonial pipeline attack In June, as well as the closure of major meat-processing plants and earlier ransomware attacks crippled hospitals.
The issue has become so urgent that it has begun to shift negotiations between Washington and Moscow, elevating digital arms control to a level previously seen in large-scale nuclear arms control talks. On Tuesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said US officials would meet with Russian officials next week to discuss ransomware attacks – a dialogue the two leaders agreed on at their summit in Geneva.
On Saturday, as the attacks were underway, Mr Putin delivered a timely speech on implementing Russia’s latest national security strategy that outlines measures to respond to foreign influence. The document claimed that Russian “traditional spiritual-moral and cultural-historical values are being actively attacked by the US and its allies.”
While the strategy reaffirmed Moscow’s commitment to using diplomacy to resolve conflicts, it stressed that Russia considered it legitimate to take “symmetric and asymmetric measures” to prevent “unfriendly actions” by foreign states. is”.
The remarks, cyber security experts said, were Mr Putin’s response to the summit with Mr Biden.
“Biden did a good job laying out a marker, but when you’re a thug, the first thing you do is test that red line,” said James A. Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. . “And that’s what we’re seeing here.”
Mr Lewis said “low-end penalties” like sanctions had ended. “The White House will have to use more aggressive measures, whether it’s something in cyberspace, or more painful legal or financial maneuvering,” he said.
Stronger measures have long been debated, and are sometimes used. When Russian intelligence agencies inserted malicious code into the US power grid in recent years – where it remains to this day – The United States in turn inserted the code into the Russian grid, and made sure it was seen as a deterrent. Ahead of the 2020 election, the United States Cyber Command took down the servers of a major Russian cybercriminal operation to prevent them from locking down voting infrastructure.