© Reuters. US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm speaks about the shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, United States, May 11, 2021. REUTERS / Kevin Lamarque
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. officials on Sunday stepped up pressure on foreign companies and adversaries to tackle cybercriminals, and said President Joe Biden was considering all options, including a military response, to counter the growing threat .
The Biden administration is examining “all options” for defending the country against ransomware criminals, US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said on Sunday when asked if military action was being considered.
Raimondo did not detail what those options might look like, but said the topic will be on the agenda when the president meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin this month. The growing threat of cyber attacks has prompted the Biden administration to take a more aggressive stance against Russia, which is believed to harbor some of the perpetrators.
“We don’t take anything off the table with any repercussions, consequences or retaliation in mind,” Raimondo said.
The world’s largest meat packer was targeted by cybercriminals last weekend and in May the largest fuel pipeline in the United States was attacked, stoking fears of food supply disruptions and fuel.
U.S. adversaries have the ability to shut down the nation’s entire electricity grid, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said separately in an interview with CNN, noting “thousands of attacks on all aspects of the electricity industry. energy”.
The recent high-profile attacks prompted Biden to put the issue of Russia hosting hackers on the agenda of his meeting with Putin.
The White House plans to use the June 16 summit to deliver a clear message to the Russian leader, officials said. A next step could be the destabilization of the computer servers used to carry out such hacks, according to some cyber experts.
US officials are asking private companies to be more vigilant and transparent about attacks. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Sunday that the May attack on Colonial Pipeline, which created temporary gasoline shortages, showed the national implications of a private company hack.
“Part of our vulnerability in cybersecurity is that you are only as strong as your weakest link,” he said in an interview with CBS.
Businesses must alert the federal government when targeted, Granholm said, and stop paying attackers. “You shouldn’t pay for ransomware attacks because that only encourages bad guys,” she said.
Although she opposes ransomware payments, she said she was unsure whether Biden or Congress was prepared to ban them.
Companies should be required to report ransomware attacks, Democratic Senator Mark Warner of Virginia said on Sunday, although he did not say he supported the illegality of those payments.
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