“I made it very clear to him that the United States expects when a ransomware operation is coming from his soil, even though it’s not sponsored by the state, we expect them to act if we give them enough information to act on who that is,” Biden said.
The White House has faced mounting pressure to counter the spike in ransomware attacks following the summit with Putin last month.
Despite Biden and Putin’s agreement to work together in stopping the costly attacks, the Russia-based cybercriminal group REvil claimed responsibility for the largest attack to date, impacting as many as 1,500 companies, schools, and hospitals globally.
In addition to the attack over the Fourth of July weekend, the Republican National Convention said Tuesday that one of its technology providers, Synnex, had been hacked.
In a phone conversation between the two world leaders Friday, Biden warned Putin that the U.S. will take “any necessary action” to defend U.S. infrastructure and directed government agencies to prepare.
When questioned by reporters after the call, Biden said it made sense to attack the servers used in the recent ransomware strikes but did not elaborate on U.S. strategy in going after the perpetrators.
The president also said he believes the U.S. will “get cooperation” from Russia, but said it was not “appropriate” to comment on what he expects Putin to do.
But following their conversation Friday afternoon, the Kremlin released a readout of the meeting and claimed that “no requests have been received” from the U.S. regarding cybersecurity.
A senior administration official countered these claims and explained multiple actions had been relayed through Russian channels.
The White House said only time will tell how Russia will respond to U.S. calls for action.