President Joe Biden released a statement to all Americans on Monday afternoon warning that Russia may target the U.S. with cyberattacks.
His full statement is below:
This is a critical moment to accelerate our work to improve domestic cybersecurity and bolster our national resilience. I have previously warned about the potential that Russia could conduct malicious cyber activity against the United States, including as a response to the unprecedented economic costs we’ve imposed on Russia alongside our allies and partners. It’s part of Russia’s playbook. Today, my Administration is reiterating those warnings based on evolving intelligence that the Russian Government is exploring options for potential cyberattacks.
From day one, my Administration has worked to strengthen our national cyber defenses, mandating extensive cybersecurity measures for the Federal Government and those critical infrastructure sectors where we have authority to do so, and creating innovative public-private partnerships and initiatives to enhance cybersecurity across all our critical infrastructure. Congress has partnered with us on these efforts — we appreciate that Members of Congress worked across the aisle to require companies to report cyber incidents to the United States Government.
My Administration will continue to use every tool to deter, disrupt, and if necessary, respond to cyberattacks against critical infrastructure. But the Federal Government can’t defend against this threat alone. Most of America’s critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector and critical infrastructure owners and operators must accelerate efforts to lock their digital doors. The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has been actively working with organizations across critical infrastructure to rapidly share information and mitigation guidance to help protect their systems and networks
If you have not already done so, I urge our private sector partners to harden your cyber defenses immediately by implementing the best practices we have developed together over the last year. You have the power, the capacity, and the responsibility to strengthen the cybersecurity 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.
Biden’s statement came out amid a massive outage that mysteriously hit Apple, bringing down most of its commonly used services.
During a White House press briefing on Monday, Deputy National Security Advisor Anne Neuberger said the U.S. had “evolving threat intelligence that the Russian government is exploring options for potential cyber attacks on critical infrastructure in the United States,” which necessitated renewed warnings of a Russian cyberattack.
Earlier Monday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry warned the U.S. Ambassador to Russia that relations with the U.S. were close to being severed after Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “war criminal.”
“It is emphasized that such statements by the American President, unworthy of a statesman of such a high rank, put Russian-American relations on the verge of breaking,” an English translation of the statement said. “They warned that hostile actions taken against Russia would receive a decisive and firm rebuff.”