President Biden met with Russian President Vladimir Putin Wednesday in Geneva, and thankfully the topics they discussed involved cyberattacks. Specifically, the barrage of attacks hitting American business and government agencies that appear to originate from Russia.
Biden met with reporters and shed some light on the specifics of the conversation, saying he gave Putin a list of 16 infrastructure entities that are off limits to a Russian cyberattack.
Biden didn’t mention what the repercussions would be if Putin didn’t heed the warning, but he did lay out the entities he included in that list of 16. Here they are:
Energy, water, health care, emergency, chemical, nuclear, communications, government, defense, food, commercial facilities, IT, transportation, dams, manufacturing and financial services.
Unsurprisingly, Putin denied knowing about or being involved in the recent barrage of attacks, including the attack on Colonial Pipeline.
Here’s how Biden described how the conversation went. ”I looked at him. I said, ‘How would you feel if ransomware took on the pipelines from your oil fields?’ He said, ‘It would matter.’ This is not about just our self-interest.”
Biden was then asked by reporters if he told Putin he would respond militarily if Russia does not comply, but Biden cut the question off, refusing to answer it specifically. “Thank you very much. No, we didn’t talk about military response,” Biden said when the media pressed the issue.
Biden also said he didn’t make any threats towards Putin, but instead made what he called “simple assertions.”
Putin had a press conference of his own after the meeting. One highlight was the Russian President saying that American sources have told him that “a majority” of cyberattacks in the world actually come from,,, wait for it,,, The United States.
So, we’ll see what happens next. One thing that is not disputed is the IT security firm Check Point reports that ransomware attacks have increased 102% worldwide from the beginning of 2020.