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Biden urges US businesses to prepare for Russian cyber attacks

The president has urged critical infrastructure owners to accelerate efforts to lock their digital doors

President Joe Biden has warned that Russia could launch a wave of cyber attacks targeting the US.

Biden  previously warned about the potential that Russia could conduct malicious cyber activity against the US, including as a response to the unprecedented economic costs the country imposed on Russia, calling it part of the country's playbook. The president reiterated the warnings in a statement published this week, based on evolving intelligence that the Russian government is exploring options for potential cyber attacks.

Biden called it a critical moment to accelerate work to improve domestic cyber security and bolster national resilience. He underlined that his administration has worked to strengthen the nation’s cyber defences, mandating cyber security measures for the government and critical infrastructure sectors, as well as creating public-private partnerships to enhance security across all critical infrastructure.

The president added that his administration will continue to use every tool to deter, disrupt, and if necessary, respond to cyber attacks against critical infrastructure.

However, he warned the government can’t defend against the threat alone. Most of the US’s critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector and owners and operators must accelerate efforts to lock their digital doors, underlined Biden. 

“If you have not already done so, I urge our private sector partners to harden your cyber defences immediately by implementing the best practices we have developed together over the last year,” said Biden.

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“You have the power, the capacity, and the responsibility to strengthen the cyber security and resilience of the critical services and technologies on which Americans rely. We need everyone to do their part to meet one of the defining threats of our time — your vigilance and urgency today can prevent or mitigate attacks tomorrow.”

The government has also been implementing legislation to bolster the nation’s cyber security. A bill aiming to force critical infrastructure providers to declare when they have experienced a cyber attack was approved by the Senate earlier this month. Once signed into law by Biden, it looks to enhance the nation’s ability to combat ongoing cyber security threats against critical infrastructure.

Critical infrastructure owners will report to CISA within 72 hours if they’re experiencing a substantial cyber attack, and within 24 hours of making a ransomware payment.  

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