The White House on Monday urged private companies to bolster their cyber defenses, citing evolving information that suggests the Russian government is exploring “options for potential cyber-attacks” targeting US critical infrastructure.
“To be clear, there is no assurance that a cyber incident will occur on critical infrastructure,” Anne Neuberger, deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technology, told reporters during a briefing Monday afternoon.
“This is a call to action and a call to responsibility for all of us,” she said.
The government has warned in recent weeks that Russia could attack infrastructure in the US or elsewhere with cyber attacks, but officials previously said there were no specific or credible threats against the US.
Neuberger said Monday that officials saw some “preparatory activity” and that the administration last week informed companies that could potentially be affected in a secret environment.
“There is no evidence of any specific cyber attack that we expect,” she said. “There’s some preparatory activity that we’re seeing and that’s what we’ve shared in a covert context with companies that we thought might be affected.”
The White House is urging companies to mandate the use of multi-factor authentication, conduct emergency drills to build response plans, deploy security tools to search for threats, back up and encrypt data, and take other steps to secure information and strengthen security to protect against cyber-attacks. hazards.
The Biden administration last month attributed cyber attacks targeting Ukraine’s defense ministry and banks to Russia. Those attacks took place before the Russian invasion of Ukraine began on February 24.