President Joe Biden warned of “evolving intelligence” that suggests Russia “is exploring options for potential cyberattacks” against the U.S. on Monday.
The administration has previously warned about Russia’s potential for conducting “malicious cyber activity against the” U.S. as war continues to rage in Ukraine, Biden noted in his statement on Monday. However, this latest warning marks the president’s sharpest yet on the topic.
“This is a critical moment to accelerate our work to improve domestic cybersecurity and bolster our national resilience,” Biden said in Monday’s statement. “I have previously warned about the potential that Russia could conduct malicious cyber activity against the United States, including as a response to the unprecedented economic costs we’ve imposed on Russia alongside our allies and partners.”
“It’s part of Russia’s playbook. Today, my administration is reiterating those warnings based on evolving intelligence that the Russian Government is exploring options for potential cyberattacks,” Biden added.
Anne Neuberger, Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology, tried to explain the “evolving intelligence” during Monday afternoon’s press briefing at the White House. She noted that “there is no intelligence that there will be a cyberattack on critical infrastructure,” but said the administration’s latest warnings are “based on evolving threat intelligence.”
“There is no evidence of any specific cyberattack that we’re anticipating,” Neuberger clarified. “There is some preparatory activity that we’re seeing, and that is what we shared in a classified context with companies that we thought might be affected.”
Deputy National Security Advisor Anne Neuberger: “The Russian government is exploring options for potential cyber attacks on critical infrastructure in the United States. To be clear, there is no certainty there will be a cyber incident on critical infrastructure.” pic.twitter.com/asAd3BKLIT
— CSPAN (@cspan) March 21, 2022
Neuberger declined to detail which private sectors in particular may be targeted in possible Russian cyberattacks, but said those companies and sectors have been informed via “classified briefings” last week. (RELATED: Russia Deploys ‘Data-Wiping Malware’ To Cripple Ukrainian Government Systems)
Biden, in his statement, urged private sector companies “to harden” their cyber defenses “immediately.” The administration also provided a fact sheet detailing efforts companies can implement to protect against a possible cyber attack.
These efforts include mandating multi-factor authentication, implementing “modern security tools” on computers and devices, running emergency exercises to ensure preparedness and more.
“You have the power, the capacity, and the responsibility to strengthen the cybersecurity and resilience of the critical services and technologies on which Americans rely. We need everyone to do their part to meet one of the defining threats of our time — your vigilance and urgency today can prevent or mitigate attacks tomorrow,” Biden added in his statement.