Cyber Warfare Updates
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Joe Biden has warned that cyber-attacks could escalate into all-out war as tensions mounted with Russia and China over a series of hacking incidents targeting US government agencies, businesses and infrastructure.
Biden said on Tuesday that cyber threats, including ransomware attacks, “can increasingly cause real-world damage and disruption.”
“If we get into a war, a real gun war with great power, it will be the result of a cyber breach,” the president said in a speech delivered to the Office for the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees 18 US intelligence agencies.
A number of recent hacks have revealed the extent of US cyber-vulnerability, ranging from extensive espionage breaches that have hit the heart of government to ransomware attacks that have brought operations to a halt at a major oil pipeline and meat-packing plants.
The Biden administration has accused the governments of Russia and China, or hackers in the two countries, of some of the attacks. US officials have warned the government would respond with a “mix of visible and unseen tools,” but cyber breaches continued.
While not saying who such a war could be waged against, Biden immediately mentioned Russian President Vladimir Putin’s name, alleging that Russia was spreading misinformation ahead of the 2022 US midterm elections.
“It is a pure violation of our sovereignty,” he said.
“Mr Putin . . . has a real problem. He sits on top of an economy that has nuclear weapons and oil wells and nothing else. Nothing else,” Biden said. “He knows he’s in trouble, which makes him even more dangerous.”
At a June summit in Geneva, Biden personally warned Putin that the US would “respond with cyber” if the Russian state or Russia-based hackers targeted critical US infrastructure.
The banned sectors include energy, healthcare, IT and commercial facilities, all of which have been allegedly targeted by Russian hackers since the 2020 US election. Others included transportation, financial services and chemicals.
Biden also said Chinese President Xi Jinping was “deadly serious” that by the 2040s China would become the world’s most powerful military power, as well as the largest and most prominent economy.
“It’s really… This kid has a plan,” Biden said, adding: “We’d better figure out how to keep up without getting worse [the situation].”
Stressing that cyberattacks were just one aspect of the growing threats facing the US, Biden said there would be more developments in the next 10 years than in the past 50, posing a huge burden on the intelligence community.
“It’s really getting harder,” he said.
Follow Katrina Manson on Twitter: @KatrinaManson
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