JOE Biden has warned Russia to end cyberattacks or he will hit back “significantly”.
The president’s warning came after Vladimir Putin baselessly claimed that the “US is behind most hacks”.
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Biden also said the two presidents will have additional talks on the pursuit of criminals carrying out ransomware attacks following their Wednesday meeting in Geneva.
It comes after a ransomware attack in May on one of the largest pipeline operators in the US forced the shutdown of fuel supplies to much of the East Coast for nearly a week. That attack is blamed on a Russian criminal gang.
Russia has not cooperated with criminal investigations of ransomware and does not extradite suspects to the US.
Now Biden has warned that the US will put up with it no longer, telling reporters: “I looked at him and said, ‘How would you feel if ransomware took on the pipelines from your oilfields?’ He said it would matter.”
Later, he added: “He knows I will take action. I pointed out to him that we have significant cyber capability. He doesn’t know exactly what it is, but it’s significant.”
Biden also warned that 16 types of critical infrastructure should be off-limits to cyberattacks, “period”. He said that includes the energy and water sector.
During his press conference on Wednesday, Putin claimed that the US is behind most of the hacks.
“From American sources, it follows that most of the cyberattacks in the world are carried out from the cyber realm of the United States,” Putin said.
“Second place is Canada. Then two Latin American countries. Afterward comes Great Britain. Russia is not on the list of countries from where — from the cyber space of which — most of the various cyberattacks are carried out.”
While the US, Canada and Britain all engage in cyber espionage, the most damaging cyberattacks on record have come either from state-backed Russian hackers or Russian-speaking ransomware criminals who operate with impunity in Russia and allied nations.
The cyberattacks that have recently done the most damage are from ransomware sowed and activated by Russian-speaking criminal gangs that enjoy safe harbor in Russia and allied nations and whose members have sometimes colluded with Russian security services.
The global ransomware plague that has caused tens of billions of dollars of damage in the past 18 months — hitting a company, hospital, school or other target about every eight minutes — was a major issue for Biden at the summit.
In an NBC interview on Monday, Putin sharply dismissed the cyberattack allegations against the US as baseless.
“Where is the evidence? Where is proof? It’s becoming farcical,” Putin said.
“We have been accused of all kinds of things — election interference, cyberattacks and so on and so forth — and not once, not once, not one time, did they bother to produce any kind of evidence or proof, just unfounded accusations.”
Biden delivered a solo press conference on the Putin meeting after the Russian leader first gave his own briefing.
The US President had reportedly been advised by Russian experts not to hold a joint appearance with Putin.
“I told President Putin my agenda is not against Russia or anyone else.,” Biden began. “It’s for the American people.”
“I also told him that no President of the United States could keep faith with the American people if they did not speak out to defend our democratic values,” Biden continued.
The US President said that Russia is “not able to dictate what happens in the world.”