Biden Says Latest Ransomware Attack Caused ‘Minimal Damage,’ Is Confident In US Response

Screenshot/YouTube: The Washington Post

Anders Hagstrom White House Correspondent
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President Joe Biden says he is confident in the U.S. government’s ability to respond to ransomware attacks Tuesday, saying the most recent incidents against companies have caused “minimal damage.”

The Russia-based hacking group REvil claimed responsibility for widespread ransomware attacks against hundreds of U.S. companies and more than a thousand companies worldwide on Friday. Reporters present asked whether the attack rose to the level of requiring U.S. retaliation. (RELATED: Biden To Press Putin On JBS, Colonial Pipeline Hacking, Will Not ‘Take Options Off The Table’)

“I received an update from my national security team this morning. It appears to have caused minimal damage to U.S. businesses, but we’re still gathering information to the full extent of the attack,” Biden responded. “I’m going to have more to say about this in the next several days… I feel good about our ability to respond.”

Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin in June the U.S. would be forced to respond if ransomware attacks continue originating in the country. The administration reportedly does not consider the Friday attack to be evidence that Putin ignored the warning, however. Officials are waiting six months to see whether Russian ransomware incidents begin to decrease, according to NBC News.

“He knows I will take actions, like we did this last time out,” Biden said of Putin in June. “What happened was, we in fact made it clear that we were not going to continue to allow this to go on … He knows there are consequences.”

The REvil hacking group has demanded $70 million in exchange for a decryption key that would unlock data for affected companies. The group’s attack centered on the Kaseya corporation, a company that provides software to companies across the globe. Roughly 1,500 of its client companies have been affected by the attack.