Joe Biden finally called his Russian counterpart this Friday to demand that you take urgent action against the cyber blackmail attacks that have seriously affected industry and commerce in the United States. Both leaders met in Switzerland last month, and there Biden already marked a red line for Vladimir Putin: he would not allow more blows by Russian-based hackers against US companies or institutions. The Kremlin should take steps to make these criminals pay, Biden said.
But last week another company, this software company based in Miami, was infiltrated, and the attackers are asking for $ 70 million to free it. 1,500 businesses that use this technology have been affected worldwide. According to several investigators in the US, the culprit is the Russian criminal group REvil.
The White House spokesperson Jen Psaki, said this Friday in his daily press conference that the call between the two leaders lasted an hour, and that the central part of the conversation was the need for a response to these cyberattacks. Earlier, Psaki had said that a group of negotiators from both countries will meet next week to bring positions closer together. “If the Russian government is unable or unwilling to take action against criminals operating in Russia, we will do so, or at least we reserve the right to take action alone,” the spokeswoman warned.
In English, these attacks are known as ‘ransomware’, that is, a program takes control of the system or device it infects and asks for a ransom to return control to its owner. As the White House said on Friday, President Biden “underscored the need for Russia to take steps to disarm the ‘ransomware’ groups operating in Russia and emphasized that it is committed to continued participation in the broader threat posed by the ‘ ransomware ‘. President Biden reiterated that the US will take whatever action is necessary to defend its people and essential infrastructure in the face of this ongoing challenge.
The White House has taken a week to respond, after offering evasions to the press. In his few comments on the matter, the president has said since this latest attack that he needed to have all the information before reacting. Finally, he called Putin this Friday. Putin’s usual response to these complaints is that they are common criminals without contact with the Russian regime and that there is also no reliable evidence that they are based within Russian territory.
Earlier, hackers disrupted meat and gasoline supplies in parts of the US with similar attacks. The last attack occurs against software firm Kaseya, based in Miami, and offering digital services to businesses around the world.
In private, the White House has said that the federal government is helping companies strengthen their cybersecurity, that it has put obstacles in the financial avenues to collect that blackmail and that even last month it recovered most of a multimillion-dollar payment made to Russian criminals by a gas pipeline company. Because of that attack, the ‘hackers’ pmore than four million went to the Colonial Pipeline company, a tiny amount compared to 70 million today.
The truth is that the US lacks evidence that these ‘hackers’ are supported by the Russian government. At best, the only obvious thing at the moment is that the Kremlin turns a blind eye to blackmail, as it has done with other types of digital fraud that are planned and perpetrated from within its borders.
Biden has several open fronts with Russia. The first, that of the persecution of opponents of Putin. After the poisoning of Alexei NavalnyToday, the American president even described the Russian president as a murderer in a television interview. That prompted the Kremlin to call its ambassador in Washington for consultations. It only returned to a certain normality after the meeting of both presidents in Switzerland. Then there are Russia’s electoral interference campaigns in both the 2020 and 2016 presidential elections, for which Biden also promised retaliation.