- Liz Lindsay
Biden warns companies of potential cyberattacks from Russia and urges them to strengthen security
The US has "evolving intelligence" that the Russian government is "exploring options for a potential cyberattack, " President Joe Biden said at the Business Roundtable CEO Quarterly Meeting in Washington last week. “The magnitude of Russia’s cyber capacity is fairly consequential and it’s coming. Most of the country's critical infrastructure is controlled by private sectors, which limits the government's ability to secure its digital borders," Biden said. It’s not the first time Biden has called attention to potential Russian cyberattacks, but speaking to business leaders, Biden’s remarks suggest the threat has become more imminent.
Cyber warfare between the US and Russia has been quiet in spite of Russia's escalating invasion of Ukraine and subsequent economic sanctions by the US, EU, and UK. However, researchers found that 58% of the nation's cyberattacks that it observed over the course of a year originated from Russia. A successful attack could have major implications for US national security, according to a memo from Goldman Sachs, specifically if the IT infrastructure is targeted in the critical sectors of energy, financial services, or transportation. Thirteen additional sectors have also been designated by the U.S. as being critical to security and public health such as the healthcare, food and water sectors.
According to Fortune magazine, "If recent history is anything to go by, critical infrastructure like America’s oil pipeline could be at risk. It actually happened less than 12 months ago. In May 2021, a group of hackers known as DarkSide, which the F.B.I. said was operating from Eastern Europe and possibly Russia, hacked Colonial Pipeline Co. and temporarily disrupted the flow of nearly half the gasoline and jet fuel supplies to the East Coast. That was when oil cost $65 per barrel on average over the course of the month. With the invasion of Ukraine sending oil prices gyrating, Biden banning imports of Russian oil, and the IEA recommending drastic measures to cut down on fossil fuels, another such disruption to the pipeline could be disastrous. In the case of the Colonial pipeline, DarkSide’s intention was not to disrupt the flow of gas or disrupt the economy, but rather to hold the data for ransom. Colonial paid nearly $5 million to the hackers to restore the network and recover the data."