Cybersecurity

White House Warns Private Companies to Strengthen Cybersecurity in Case of Russian Cyberattack

Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology Anne Neuberger speaks during a briefing in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on March 21, 2022.  (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology Anne Neuberger speaks during a briefing in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on March 21, 2022. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) – The White House is warning private companies to shore up their cybersecurity in advance of any potential cyberattacks by Russia against the United States in light of Russia invading Ukraine.

“We’ve previously warned about the potential for Russia to conduct cyber attacks against the United States, including as a response to the unprecedented costs that the U.S. and allies and partners imposed in response to Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine,” Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology Anne Neuberger said Monday.

“Today, we are reiterating those warnings, and we’re doing so based on evolving threat intelligence that the Russian government is exploring options for potential cyber attacks on critical infrastructure in the United States. To be clear, there is no certainty there will be a cyber incident on critical infrastructure. So why am I here? Because this is a call to action and a call to responsibility for all of us,” she said.

When asked whether the U.S. is afraid there might be more of a cyber risk because of what’s going on in Ukraine, Neuberger said, “So, we’ve given a number of threat warnings over the last number of weeks that Russia could consider conducting cyberattacks in response to the very significant economic costs the U.S. and partners have put on Russia in response. This speaks to evolving threat intelligence and a potential shift in intention to do so.”

As far as the U.S. banking system is concerned, Neuberger said that it “truly takes cyber threats seriously, both individually and as a group.”

“Treasury has worked extensively with the sector to share sensitive threat intelligence at the executive level, at the security executive level, repeatedly at the classified and unclassified level. So, I do not believe they’re more at risk, but it is always important for every critical infrastructure sector to double down in this heightened period of geopolitical tension to carefully look at any threat,” she said.

Neuberger reiterated President Biden’s warning that if Russia “conducts disruptive cyber attacks against critical infrastructure, we will be prepared to respond.”

Fox News White House Correspondent Jacqui Heinrich asked, “You guys, the administration, successfully declassified a lot of intelligence about what the Russians were planning leading up to the invasion to prebut what they might do. Can you do that a little bit here and at least list some of the industries that might be the biggest targets so that they can have a heightened awareness about what might be coming?”

NEUBERGER: As we consider declassifying intelligence, to your excellent point, that really has been the work that has been done the last few weeks and was driven by a focus on outcomes. It was driven by the president’s desire to avoid war at all costs, to really invest in diplomacy.

So, as we consider this information, the first step we did was we gave classified, detailed briefings to the companies and sectors for which we had some preparatory information about, and then for those where we don’t, that’s the purpose of today’s unclassified briefing: to give that broad warning, and I want to lift up the factsheet, which is really the call to action for specific activities to do.

HEINRICH: So you believe the people, the industries that need to know about this risk know?

NEUBERGER: We believe the key entities who need to know have been provided classified briefings. I mentioned, for example, just last week, several hundred companies were brought in to get that briefing.

NBC White House Correspondent Peter Alexander asked whether the United States has “any evidence that Russia has attempted a hack, either here in the U.S., in Europe, or in Ukraine, over the course of the last several weeks since this offensive began.”

NEUBERGER: So, we certainly believe that Russia has conducted cyberattacks to undermine, coerce, and destabilize Ukraine, and we attributed some of those a couple of weeks ago. We consistently see nation states doing preparatory activity. That preparatory activity can pan out to become an incident; it cannot, and that’s the reason we’re here.

ALEXANDER: So, specifically in the U.S., as there was an assessment early on that we thought that we would be a likely target here, why do you think we have not seen any attack on critical infrastructure in the United States to this point so far?

NEUBERGER: I can’t speak to Putin or Russian leadership’s strategic thinking regarding how cyberattacks factor in. What I can speak to is the preparatory work we’ve been doing here in the U.S. and the fact that as soon as we have some evolving threat intelligence regarding a shift in that intention, that we’re coming out and raising the awareness to heighten our preparedness as well.

Source: https://www.cnsnews.com/index.php/article/washington/melanie-arter/white-house-warns-private-companies-strengthen-cybersecurity-case

Donovan Larsen

Donovan is a columnist and associate editor at the Dark News. He has written on everything from the politics to diversity issues in the workplace.

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