US President Joe Biden on Tuesday warned that if the US ended up in a “real shooting war” with a “major power”, it could be the result of a significant cyberattack on the country, highlighting what Washington sees as growing threats posed by Russia and China.
Cybersecurity has risen to the top of the agenda for the Biden administration after a series of high-profile attacks on entities such as network management company SolarWinds, the Colonial Pipeline company, meat processing company JBS and software firm Kaseya hurt the US far beyond just the companies hacked. Some of the attacks affected fuel and food supplies in parts of the US.
“I think it’s more than likely we’re going to end up, if we end up in a war — a real shooting war with a major power — it’s going to be as a consequence of a cyber-breach of great consequence and it’s increasing exponentially, the capabilities,” Biden said during a half-hour speech while visiting the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).
During a 16 June summit in Geneva between Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Biden shared a list of critical infrastructure the US considers off-limits to nation-state actors.
Since then, senior members of the Biden administration’s national security team have been in constant contact with senior members of the Kremlin over cyberattacks on the US, the White House has said.
Biden also highlighted the threats posed by China, referring to President Xi Jinping as “deadly earnest about becoming the most powerful military force in the world, as well as the largest and most prominent economy in the world by the mid-40s, the 2040s”. — Reported by Nandita Bose, (c) 2021 Reuters