US President Joe Biden on Friday stepped up pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin to take action against ransomware groups operating in Russia, warning if the US is ready to respond cyber attacks are not interrupted.
The two leaders spoke on the phone for the first time since discussing ransomware attacks at a summit in Geneva on June 16. Biden’s message to Putin on the call was straightforward, suggesting a growing impatience with attacks that have hit key areas of America.
“I made it very clear to him that the United States expects that when a ransomware operation is coming from its soil, even if it is not state sponsored, we expect them to act if we tell them to act on it. If give enough information for who it is,” he said. Biden to reporters.
The US president said the two governments have now regularly established means of communication “when each of us feels that something is happening in the other country that affects the country of origin”.
“And it was fine. I’m optimistic,” he said.
The United States has not indicated how it plans to respond to Russia’s attacks. Biden was asked if there would be consequences for Russian inaction, he said: “Yes.”
“We are not going to telegraph exactly what these actions will be – some of them will be clear and visible, others may not be,” a senior Biden administration official told reporters.
Ransomware is a type of malware designed to block systems by encrypting data and requiring payment to gain access. Cybercriminals have used this tool to paralyze thousands of US organizations, triggering a series of increasingly significant crises.