Biden steps up pressure on Russia to go after cyber criminals

The ransomware attacks on meatpacker JBS and Colonial Pipeline are prompting the Biden administration to confront nations such as Russia and China on harboring hackers who cause major disruptions overseas.

The back-to-back attacks from groups based in Russia are raising the stakes for this month’s summit between President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the first face-to-face meeting for the two leaders since Biden took office.

Raising expectations: “This will certainly be a topic of discussion, that harboring criminal entities that are intending to do harm, that are doing harm to the critical infrastructure in the United States, is not acceptable,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at the White House on Wednesday. “We are not going to stand by that, we will raise that, and we are not going to take options off the table.”

She stressed that the administration had raised concerns over the multiple Russian-linked attacks on U.S. critical organizations with Moscow and that protecting critical infrastructure was “of the utmost national security importance.”

“We believe that responsible states do not harbor ransomware criminals,” Psaki said.