After hundreds of companies in the United States and about 1,500 worldwide, their computer systems were apparently hijacked by the Russian-based Revil Group, calls for a tough counterattack by Pentagon cyber troops emerged and more sanctions against Moscow. also demanded.
The meeting, which was attended by officials from the state, national security, justice and intelligence departments, also came after reports that alleged Russian hackers had attempted to hack the system of the opposition Republican Party’s National Committee.
After the meeting, Biden told reporters he would send a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the matter without giving further details.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Wednesday’s meeting was a “government-wide effort to take action against ransomware attacks.”
“The president has several options when he decides to take action against the attackers,” he said. Paki, however, did not specify what action Biden was considering.
– Appeal for more sanctions –
As the attacks continued three weeks after Biden raised the issue in direct talks with Putin at a summit in Geneva, there have been more calls for the US ruler to retaliate.
In an opinion piece published by The Washington Post on Wednesday, cybersecurity expert Dmitry Alperovich and Wilson Center Russia expert Matthew Rozansky urged Biden to sanction Russian oil and gas companies, one of Russia’s main sources of funding. is.
“Before these devastating ransomware attacks become routine, President Biden must make a quiet but blunt demand: Russian President Vladimir Putin must immediately cease this activity or Washington tightens sanctions on the Russian economy,” he wrote.
A group of Republican lawmakers said in a statement that the repeated cyberattacks made it clear that Putin “ignored” Biden’s warnings.
“Putin will not take these criminals into custody until they know that they will face real and dire consequences if they do not do so,” he said.
– Redemption of 70 crores –
Psaki, for his part, said that White House national security officials had expressed their concerns to their Russian counterparts.
And cyber security officials from the United States and Russia are scheduled to meet next week to address the ransomware problem.
But Reville’s latest attack shows that Moscow has failed to take steps to crack down on cybercriminals.
This Wednesday, on his “Happy Blog” on the dark web, Reville continued to post private data from companies whose computers were hacked in order to pressure them to pay a ransom.
The group also offered to publicly release the keys to unlock all of the companies’ data in exchange for a one-time payment of $70 million.
Asked about retaliation, the White House press secretary said officials were still cautious about blaming for the latest attacks and did not guarantee that the Russian government was directly responsible for them.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Tuesday he would not discuss the specific capabilities or functions of its cyber command, which can conduct online offensive and counter-attacks.
“We are all aware of these growing threats to national security as well as civilian infrastructure,” Kirby said.
“We believe that the US response to these threats must come from the entire government,” he said, and it cannot be just a military responsibility.