Russian government was not invited to attend, says senior Biden official
“This event, scheduled to take place over the next few days, is an exhibit of how we are working with international partners to disrupt the ransomware network,” the official said.
Participating countries include longtime US allies such as the UK, Australia, Germany and Israel, as well as Bulgaria, Kenya, Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates. “The list underscores how dangerous the ransomware threat is, from all different parts of the world to different countries and international and global,” the official said.
The US official did not give specific reasons for not inviting the Russian government to this week’s summit, but said the country’s absence at this meeting does not prevent it from attending such meetings in the future. US blames Russian hackers for launching cyberattacks, including campaign against technology provider SolarWinds Corporation
The resulting corrupt software was being sent to nine US agencies and several companies. Moscow has consistently denied involvement in cybercrimes or harboring cybercriminals.
The official said the US continues to discuss the ransomware issue with Russia through bilateral channels, adding that Russia has acted on the information shared through those discussions to disrupt ransomware operators.
“Clearly, Russia plays a part because of the many criminal actors that are operating from Russia. And that’s why President Biden, along with President Putin, set up a dedicated channel for us, which is very focused. And there is a frank discussion to be had,” the official said.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Meyerkas said in September that ransomware attacks in the US had increased by 300 percent in the past year.
After high-profile attacks on Colonial Pipeline Company in May, which disrupted East Coast fuel supplies and meatpacker JBS. To
In June, the US government devoted significant resources to cybersecurity efforts.
These include a Justice Department task force focused on ransomware, an executive order from President Biden in May and sanctions for the Russia-based cryptocurrency exchange in September, accusing the Treasury Department of managing payments for cybercriminals.
Cybersecurity experts have long warned that serious efforts to mitigate the effects of ransomware attacks, which disrupted operations in hospitals and other critical infrastructure during the coronavirus pandemic, are unlikely to succeed without Russian involvement.
“I’ve been in cybersecurity for 24 years and I’ve never seen it so bad,” said Tom Kellerman, head of cyber security strategy at software company VMware. Inc.
“I have never seen cybercrime cartels so enthusiastic, organized, so sophisticated and so punitive in their actions.”
—Katherine Lucy contributed to this article.
James Rundle at [email protected]