In a statement US officials said, they are applying more pressure on foreign adversaries and on domestic companies to fight cybercriminals; the Biden Administration is considering all options, including a military ones, to counter the growing threat.
The U.S. administration is looking at “all of the options,” to defend the United States against ransomware cyber attacks, said U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo in an interview when asked whether a military response was an option.
Although Raimondo did not detail what those options could be, he said, the topic will be on the agenda when the Biden meets his Russian counterpart President Vladimir Putin later this month.
Rising threats of cyber attacks has led the Biden administration to take a more forceful stance against former foe Russia, which is thought to be harboring perpetrators of ransomeware attacks.
“We’re not taking anything off the table as we think about possible repercussions, consequences or retaliation,” said Raimondo.
Earlier this month, a US meatpacker, the world’s largest, was targeted by cybercriminals while earlier this year in May, the largest fuel pipeline in the United States came under cyber attack, stoking fears over disruption of fuel supply.
In a separate interview, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm opined, U.S. adversaries have the capability to shutdown the country’s entire power grid.
The recent high profile attacks have prompted the Biden Administration to put the issue to Russia which is harboring cyber criminals, for his upcoming meeting.
The White House plans on using the June 16 summit to deliver a lucid message to Putin, said office. A next possible step could be to destabilize the computer servers that are used to carry out such attacks, said cyber experts.
U.S. officials have also asked private companies to be more vigilant and transparent about cyber attacks.
“Part of our vulnerability on cybersecurity is you’re only as strong as your weakest link,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in an interview with CBS.
Companies need to alert the federal government when they are attacked said Granholm and they need to stop paying attackers.
“You shouldn’t be paying ransomware attacks, because it only encourages the bad guys,” she said.