- Biden has urged US companies to ensure their digital doors are locked tight
- Infrastructure entities have ignored alerts from federal agencies to fix known problems in software
- These software could be exploited by Russian hackers, Biden's top cybersecurity aide Neuberger said
Amid its war with Ukraine, Russia is considering launching cyberattacks against critical infrastructure targets in the United States, President Joe Biden has warned. Biden has also urged US companies to ensure their digital doors are locked tight. Biden's top cybersecurity aide, Anne Neuberger, expressed frustration at a White House press briefing Monday that some critical infrastructure entities have ignored alerts from federal agencies to fix known problems in software that could be exploited by Russian hackers.
“Notwithstanding these repeated warnings, we continue to see adversaries compromising systems that use known vulnerabilities for which there are patches,” said Neuberger, who is the president's deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technologies.
“That makes it far easier for attackers than it needs to be.”
The federal government has been providing warnings to US companies of the threats posed by Russian state hackers since long before the country invaded Ukraine last month.
Neuberger said there's no intelligence suggesting a specific Russian cyberattack against US targets, but she did add that there has been an increase in “preparatory activity,” like scanning websites and hunting for vulnerabilities, that is common among nation-state hackers.
In a statement, Biden said Russia could launch a cyberattack against US targets as retaliation for “the unprecedented economic costs we've imposed” on Russia through sanctions.
“It's part of Russia's playbook,” Biden said.
The United States and its allies have put a slew of sanctions in place aimed at crippling the Russian economy, and Biden recently announced the US is sending more anti-aircraft, anti-armor weapons and drones to help Ukraine.
Russia is considered a hacking powerhouse but its offensive cyberattacks since it invaded Ukraine have been muted compared to what some feared.
Russia has carried out significant cyberattacks against Ukraine in years past, including the devastating NotPetya attack in 2017 that spread far and wide and caused more than $10 billion in damage globally.
Neuberger said Russian cyberattacks against Ukraine are ongoing, though did not provide specifics. She said the Biden administration has made clear there will be consequences if Russia engages with the US in cyberspace.
(With inputs from AP)