Biden tells Putin Russia must crack down on cybercriminals
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has told Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call that he must “take action” against cybercriminals acting in his country and that the U.S. reserves the right to “defend its people and its critical infrastructure" from future attacks. the White House said.
The warning to Putin on Friday was largely a repetition of the tough rhetoric Biden had used during their meeting in Geneva last month, when he warned that there would be consequences for continuing cyberattacks emanating from Russia. Since then, a new ransomware attack linked to the Russia-based REvil hacking group has caused widespread disruption, placing Biden under growing pressure to this time marry the warning with actions — though none were immediately announced.
“I made it very clear to him that the United States expects when a ransomware operation is coming from his soil even though it's not sponsored by the state, we expect them to act if we give them enough information to act on who that is," Biden said, speaking to reporters at an event on economic competitiveness. Asked whether there will be consequences, he said, “Yes.”
The call with Putin underscored the extent to which the ransomware threat from criminal hacker gangs has mushroomed into an urgent national security challenge for the White House, and it suggested a possible concession by the administration that earlier warnings to the Russian leader had failed to curb a criminal activity that has taken aim at businesses across the globe.
A White House statement announcing the hourlong call also highlighted a U.S.-Russian agreement that will allow humanitarian aid to flow into Syria. The dual prongs of the agenda show how even as Biden pledges to get tough on Russia over hacking, there’s an inherent desire to avoid aggravating tensions as the...