MOSCOW (Dispatches) – Russian President Vladimir Putin told U.S. President Joe Biden that cybersecurity cooperation between Russia and the United States should be regular and professional, adding, however Washington stays silent when it comes to individual cases.
The Kremlin said in a statement that the Russian leader in a phone call with Biden on Friday said cyberattacks are indeed a major challenge that both Russia and the U.S. face together.
The scale of this challenge requires cooperation between the two nations to be “regular, professional and non-politicized,” Putin added, pointing to the “special data-sharing channels” between the relevant Russian and American authorities.
President Putin also said Russia is ready to tackle the criminal activities in cyberspace together with the United States, adding that it is the U.S. that has not contacted the relevant Russian agencies on any such cases over the past months.
Russian President’s words came in response to U.S. President Biden’s demand on Russia to “act” every time a ransomware attack is launched from its territory. “When a ransomware operation is coming from his soil… we expect them to act if we give them enough information,” Biden told journalists after the phone call with President Putin.
The ransomware attack last week on software company Kaseya impacted up to 1,500 companies. U.S. Cybersecurity experts have attributed the attack to the Russian-based “REvil” cyber group.
“Based on a combination of the service providers reaching out to us for assistance along with the comments we’re seeing in the thread we are tracking on our Reddit, it’s reasonable to think this could potentially be impacting thousands of small businesses,” according to John Hammond, a cybersecurity researcher at Huntress Labs.
Later on Friday, Biden held a press conference where he talked about the phone call.
“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,” he said.
“Secondly, that we have set up a means of communication now on a regular basis to be able to communicate to one another when each of us thinks something is happening in the other country that affects the home country. It went well, I went optimistic,” he added.
Biden also suggested that there would be consequences for the ransomware attacks, without elaborating what exactly he meant.
Last week, it was reported that hundreds of American companies were hit by the new ransomware attack, setting off alarm bells among U.S. cybersecurity officials who have been increasingly rattled by a new wave of cyberattacks targeting broad sectors of the U.S. economy.