Biden warns 'real shooting war' will be sparked by severe cyber attack

Suggests incident 'of great consequence' in the real world could be a tipping point


United States President Joe Biden has shared his view that a "real shooting war" could be sparked by a severe cyber attack.

In remarks made on Tuesday at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Biden spoke of the need to "make sure that we're positioning ourselves to stay ahead of security challenges that will stretch the IC [intelligence community] in new ways it has never been stretched before."

He next mentioned cyber attacks.

"We've seen how cyber threats, including ransomware attacks, increasingly are able to cause damage and disruption to the real world," he said.

"I can't guarantee this, and you're as informed as I am, but I think it's more likely … if we end up in a war, a real shooting war with a major power, it's going to be as a consequence of a cyber breach of great consequence.

"And it's increasing exponentially – the capabilities," he added, presumably a reference to the potency of cyber attacks.

Biden next mentioned Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin, characterising him as "sitting on top of an economy that has nuclear weapons and oil wells and nothing else" and therefore "in real trouble, which makes him even more dangerous, in my view."

Chinese President Xi Jinping was his next topic, and was described as "deadly earnest about becoming the most powerful military force in the world, as well as the largest – the most prominent economy in the world by the mid-40s."

The mentions of the two leaders weren't tied to the previous remarks about cyber attacks, but he later said: "… look what Russia is doing already about the 2022 elections and misinformation. It's a pure violation of our sovereignty.

"I think we also need to take on the rampant disinformation that is making it harder and harder for people to … assess the facts, be able to make decisions," he added.

Biden also made his familiar calls for the USA to ensure it remains ahead of China in technological capacity.

"And it's especially important that we work closely with our partners and allies to maintain our technological edge – shore up supply chains, ensure that the rules that govern technologies support democracies, not autocracies." ®

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