Russia is investigating cyber attacks, companies must be ready

President Joe Biden speaks during a tour of the Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan on May 18, 2021.

Michael Wayland | CNBC

President Joe Biden on Monday advised US companies to strengthen their cybersecurity practices over intelligence reports indicating that Russia is looking at opportunities to attack.

The guidance came nearly a month after Russian forces invaded Ukraine in a war that left more than 900 dead, including 39 children.

“I have previously warned of the potential that Russia could engage in malicious cyber activities against the United States, including in response to the unprecedented economic costs we have imposed on Russia along with our allies and partners,” the president said in a statement. “It’s part of Russia’s playbook. Today my government is reiterating those warnings based on evolving intelligence that the Russian government is exploring options for potential cyber-attacks.”

Biden directed people to White House guidelines, which include using multi-factor authentication to prevent attackers from easily accessing systems. The White House suggested that companies back up and encrypt data, renew passwords and keep devices up to date with the latest security solutions.

“We need everyone to do their part to confront one of the defining threats of our time — your vigilance and urgency today can prevent or mitigate tomorrow’s attacks,” Biden said.

We don’t know that adversaries will launch an attack on critical infrastructure, Anne Neuberger, US, deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technology, told reporters at a news conference. Still, the federal government gave secret briefings to hundreds of companies last week.

“There’s some preparatory activity we’re seeing,” said Neuberger, who declined to name the industries that were at risk of being affected.

US software company HubSpot said it was attacked on Friday and suspected it was targeting cryptocurrency customers. HubSpot has not identified the attacker.

Microsoft said late last month that it was sharing information about cyber threats with the US government. The company had seen attacks on civilian and military targets in Ukraine, but had not attributed them to Russia or any other actor.

“We made it very clear to the Russians that a heavy price would be paid if they used their capabilities to attack critical infrastructure to target sectors of strategic importance,” said Ned Price, a spokesman for the State Department. . during a press conference.

— Amanda Macias and Christina Wilkie of CNBC contributed to this report.

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