In a Friday phone call, President Joe Biden told Russian President Vladimir Putin that he has to “take action” to deal with cybercriminals in Russia or else the US will act unilaterally to “defend its people and its critical infrastructure,” the White House said.
According to the Associated Press, during a meeting less than a month ago between the two leaders in Geneva, Biden gave Putin an ultimatum against continuing cyberattacks he blamed on Russian hackers.
Last weekend, a ransomware attack blamed on Russian hacking group REvil affected over 1,5000 businesses.
In the phone call, Biden said there would be consequences if Putin didn’t heed his warning, AP reported.
“I made it very clear to him that the United States expects when a ransomware operation is coming from his soil even though it’s not sponsored by the state, we expect them to act if we give them enough information to act on who that is,” said Biden to reporters at an economic competitiveness event.
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The White House stated that during the phone call Biden “underscored the need for Russia to take action to disrupt ransomware groups operating in Russia.”
Biden also “reiterated that the United States will take any necessary action to defend its people and its critical infrastructure in the face of this continuing challenge.”
He reportedly told Putin that he was committed to continuing dialogue on the larger issue of the spread of ransomware and the danger that poses.
Putting responded to Biden by relaying that the US had not requested any cybersecurity assistance from Russia in recent ransomeware attacks, the Kremlin said in a statement, reported.