Hacker attacks have wreaked havoc in the United States. Criminals from Russia are suspected. Now US President Biden has again put pressure on Putin in a phone call.
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After the recent hacker attacks in the US and other countries, US President Joe Biden has called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to take action against the perpetrators.
In a one-hour phone call with Putin, Biden addressed “ongoing ransomware attacks by criminals based in Russia,” the White House said. Russia should take action against the groups responsible. The US is taking all necessary steps to protect its people and critical infrastructure.
$ 70 million ransom demanded
Most recently, last weekend, hackers discovered a vulnerability in the American I.T service provider Kaseya attacked hundreds of companies with ransomware software. The REvil group, located by experts in Russia, demanded 70 million US dollars (around 59 million euros) in the digital currency Bitcoin for a master key to all affected computers.
REvil was previously behind an attack on the world’s largest meat company JBS. Before JBS, it hit the operator of one of the most important gasoline pipelines in the United States. Germany was already a destination.
The USA criticizes two different types of hacker attacks from Russia: on the one hand by criminals, who, according to the USA, can attack targets abroad undisturbed; on the other hand from Russian secret services to ministries, authorities and companies in the USA. It has already imposed sanctions on Russia for this reason. The Russian government denies such attacks. Putin also repeatedly complains about cyber attacks against Russian authorities.
Hacker attacks already a topic at meetings in Geneva
In the telephone conversation following the Kremlin, the Russian President pointed out that despite Russia’s willingness to jointly take action against “criminal incidents in the information sphere”, there had been no inquiries from US organs in the past month. Given the severity of the challenges, both sides should work together without “politicization”. For this purpose, channels between the state structures should be used. Both presidents underlined the “need for objective and constructive cooperation in the field of cybersecurity”.
Biden has repeatedly called on Putin to take measures against hackers – most recently at their two-party summit in Geneva in mid-June. There both had agreed to start talks about cybersecurity. Biden had also warned the Kremlin chief of the consequences if the attacks spread.
Biden expects action
When asked whether the latest attacks would have any consequences, Biden replied, “Yes.” He made it “very clear” to Putin that the US expected him to take action. White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said ransomware attacks had increased in at least the past 18 months.
According to the White House, the phone call also concerned the resolution of the UN Security Council, which unanimously agreed on a compromise for the continuation of vital humanitarian aid for Syria. Biden and Putin praised the joint work of their teams after the summit in Geneva, which led to the unanimity. The Kremlin made a similar statement. Putin also expressed condolences after the collapse of a skyscraper in the US state of Florida.