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President Biden Warns American Business Leaders of Potential Russian Cyberattacks

President Biden Warns American Business Leaders of Potential Russian Cyberattacks

President Joe Biden issued an urgent warning to American business leaders and others on Monday, telling them to strengthen their cyber defenses immediately. The President issued a statement pointing to “evolving intelligence” to suggest Russia could conduct malicious cyber activity against American companies and critical infrastructure. Russia still maintains its cyber capabilities, and the Biden administration believes Vladimir Putin is more willing to use those tools the longer the invasion continues.

Speaking later on Monday at the Business Roundtable Quarterly Meeting in Washington, the President told the group that the national interest is at stake, suggesting that it’s “a patriotic obligation that you invest as much as you can in making sure — and we will help in any way — that you have built up your technological capacity to deal with cyber attacks.” President Biden said Putin is “likely” to use cyberattacks as a form of retaliation against the United States for its actions punishing Russia for Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. “The magnitude of Russia’s cyber capacity is fairly consequential and it’s coming,” President Biden said.

(Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)

The Biden administration has been warning the nation of the prospect of cyber attacks by Russia for months, most recently as a response to the economic restrictions imposed on Russia, and the President’s statement suggests “evolving intelligence” has heightened the threat.

The details of that intelligence remain unclear, but Deputy National Security adviser Anne Neuberger said during Monday’s White House briefing that Russia had been conducting “preparatory activity” for cyber attacks, which she said could include scanning websites and hunting for software vulnerabilities. Previous intelligence shared with the public turned out to be accurate, and the President urged the public to take the warnings seriously.

President Biden said in his remarks that the administration would “continue to use every tool to deter, disrupt, and if necessary, respond to cyberattacks against critical infrastructure,” but acknowledged that “the federal government can’t defend against this threat alone.”

The administration is recommending several steps to help private sector partners prevent cyberattacks, including using multi-factor authentication, consulting with cyber security professionals to make sure systems are protected against all known vulnerabilities, changing passwords across networks to prevent stolen credentials from being used, backing up and encrypting data, and educating employees on cyber security.

 

 

The President added that “one of the tools (Putin’s) most likely to use, in my view — in our view — is cyber attacks. They have a very sophisticated cyber capability,” and later argued, “The point is that he has the capability. He hasn’t used it yet, but it’s part of his playbook.”

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