Technology

US officials are asking private companies

Last weekend, the world’s largest meatpacker was targeted by cybercriminals. In May, the largest fuel pipeline in the US was attacked, stoking fears over supply disruptions of food and fuel.

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US adversaries have the ability to shut down the country’s entire power grid, the energy secretary, Jennifer Granholm, told CNN’s State of the Union, noting “thousands of attacks on all aspects of the energy sector”.

The recent attacks have prompted Biden to put the issue of Russia harboring hackers on the agenda for his meeting with Putin.

The White House plans to use the 16 June summit in Geneva to deliver a clear message to the Russian leader, officials say. A next step could be destabilization of the computer servers used to carry out such hacks, some cyber experts say.

US officials are asking private companies to be more vigilant and transparent. The transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg, said the May attack on Colonial Pipeline, which created temporary gasoline shortages, showed the national implications of a hack on a private company.

Republicans are fighting to seize control of Congress. Just don’t ask what they’d do if they win.

Look no further for evidence of the GOP’s muddled governing agenda than battleground North Carolina, where party leaders packed into a convention hall Saturday night to cheer former President Donald Trump.

Even with a high-stakes U.S. Senate election looming, the Republicans there were united not by any consistent set of conservative policies or principles, but by Trump’s groundless grievances about the 2020 election and his attacks against critics in both parties.

The lack of a forward-looking agenda stands in stark contrast to successful midterm elections of past years, particularly 1994 and 2010, when Republicans swept into power after staking clear positions on health care, federal spending and crime, among other issues.

Without such a strategy heading into 2022, Republicans on the ballot risk allowing themselves to be wholly defined by Trump, who lost his last election when he drew 7 million fewer votes nationally than Democrat Joe Biden and who has seen his popularity slide further, even among some Republicans, since leaving office in January.

“Part of our vulnerability on cybersecurity is you’re only as strong as your weakest link,” he told CBS’s Face the Nation.

Companies need to alert the federal government when they are targeted, Granholm said, and stop paying attackers.

“You shouldn’t be paying ransomware attacks because it only encourages the bad guys,” she said.

While she opposes ransomware payments, Granholm said she is uncertain whether Biden or Congress is prepared to outlaw them.

Companies should be required to report ransomware attacks, Senator Mark Warner of Virginia told NBC’s Meet the Press, though he stopped short of saying he supported making such payments illegal.

US officials on Sunday ratcheted up pressure on companies and foreign adversaries to fight cybercriminals, and said Joe Biden was considering options to counter the growing threat including a military response.

FBI director sees ‘parallels’ between ransomware threat and 9/11
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At the end of a week in which the FBI director, Christopher Wray, said cybercrime threat presented “a lot of parallels” to the threat of terrorism before 9/11, the commerce secretary, Gina Raimondo, was asked if military action was being considered.

The administration was looking at “all of the options” to defend the US against ransomware criminals, she said.

Raimondo did not detail what those options could look like, but told ABC’s This Week the topic will be on the agenda when Biden meets the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, this month. The rising threat of cyberattacks has pushed the Biden administration into a more aggressive stance against Russia, which is thought to harbor some perpetrators.

“We’re not taking anything off the table as we think about possible repercussions, consequences or retaliation,” Raimondo said.

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