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politico – Biden says he told Putin the US will hit back against future Russian cyberattacks

“He knows that. He doesn’t know exactly what it is, but he knows it’s important. If they actually violate those basic standards, we’ll respond.”

Key context: The remarks are the strongest Biden has made to date about the recent spate of digital attacks attributed to the Kremlin or Russia-based criminal networks, including the recent colonial pipeline hack that threatened to disrupt the market for money. country gas.

Lawmakers had called on Biden to be tough on Putin during their summit on cyberattacks and Moscow meddling in the recent US election.

Biden said he told Putin that certain areas of “critical infrastructure” should be off limits to cyber attacks and provided a list of 16 areas that should be free from tampering, apparently a reference to the list compiled by the department’s cyber wing. internal security.

“The principle is one thing, it has to be backed up by practice,” Biden said. “Responsible countries must take action against criminals who carry out ransomware activity in their territory.”

What else they talked about: Biden said the two sides had agreed to task experts from both countries to “work on specific understandings on what is prohibited and follow up on specific cases from other countries in our two countries.”

The comment was likely a reference to an arrangement Putin mentioned in his own press conference on the United States and Russia to enter “consultations” on cybersecurity. Putin then blamed the United States and its allies for carrying out most of the cyberattacks against his country. Biden did not respond to this accusation.

Where do we go from here: Biden set a realistic tone as to whether the reunion between the two countries would yield real results.

“We’ll see if we have a cybersecurity deal that starts to bring order,” the president told reporters. “Because look, the countries that are most at risk of damage … are the big countries.”

He said he specifically brought up the colonial pipeline hack with Putin.

“I looked at it, I said, ‘Well, how would you feel if ransomware showed your oilfield pipelines? “He said it would be important,” Biden said. “It’s not just about our self-interest. It’s about our mutual self-interest.”

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