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Biden says Russia exploring revenge cyberattacks

Several hundred US orgs given classified briefings as critical infrastructure felt to be at risk

United States President Joe Biden has revealed "evolving intelligence that the Russian Government is exploring options for potential cyber attacks" and that the risks posed to critical infrastructure are so significant that hundreds of US organizations have been given classified briefings on the matter.

The president said any Russian action is likely designed as reprisal for US economic sanctions imposed in the wake of the illegal invasion of Ukraine, but also emphasized that no specific threat has been identified and it is not certain an attack will take place.

Biden nonetheless urged the private sector to get its cyber security house in order – ASAP.

We're seeing potential cyberattacks on critical infrastructure

"If you have not already done so, I urge our private sector partners to harden your cyber defenses immediately by implementing the best practices we have developed together over the last year," Biden said in a Statement on our Nation's Cybersecurity.

The president's remarks were reinforced by deputy national security advisor for cyber and emerging technologies Anne Neuberger, in remarks to the White House press corps.

Neuberger was scarier than her boss.

"What we're seeing now is an evolving threat intelligence to conduct potential cyber attacks on critical infrastructure," she said. "And that raises up a point because we're concerned about potential disruption of critical services."

So concerned that last week the Biden administration shared its intelligence in classified briefings offered to "several hundred companies" felt to be in Russia's sights.

"There is some preparatory activity that we're seeing, and that is what we shared in a classified context with companies who we thought might be affected," Neuberger said, before characterizing the public briefing as a further awareness-raising exercise for all US organizations.

The public briefing was needed, she said, because many potential targets are yet to fix known vulnerabilities. Neuberger and President Biden implored organizations not to let Russia stroll through what they described as an "unlocked door."

Neuberger also discussed the electronic aspects of Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine, stating that Neuberger also said the USA continues to observe Russia acting against Ukraine's digital infrastructure. She would not, however, attribute the recent attacks on satellite comms providers Viasat and Rosneft to Russian actors.

President Biden and Neuberger both stated that America will respond if attacked.

Australian minister for home affairs Karen Andrews concurred with the USA's assessment of the threat posed by Russia.

"I can confirm today that our intelligence agencies have been closely monitoring Russia's involvement in malicious cyber security incidents that are occurring as a result of the invasion," Andrews told a conference in Sydney. "Following Russian aggression against Ukraine, it is a sad reality that there is a heightened cyber threat environment globally, and the risk of cyber attacks on Australian networks, either directly or inadvertently, has increased."

Andrews also revealed that an Australian government health organization last year experienced an attack she was willing to attribute to Russian actors.

"For operational security reasons, there are details I cannot reveal publicly about these incidents. But I can confirm that in at least one attack, the Ryuk ransomware variant was used – which is a known tactic of Russian cyber criminals."

"It would be naïve to think that Putin's aggressive ambitions, or those of his henchmen, are confined to Ukraine," she said. ®

PS: Yes, Biden also on Monday, during a public address, spoke of a "new world order" in terms of uniting the free world against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, sending Illuminati conspiracy theorists into the stratosphere.

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