Biden To Convene
Security Meeting With Extent Of Ransomware Attack Still Unclear
July 07, 2021
U.S. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will
lead a meeting of U.S. government security officials on July 7
to discuss the administration’s efforts to counter ransomware
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki announced the meeting as part
of the U.S. response to a third major ransomware attack launched
by cybercriminals believed to be based in Russia.
Speaking at a briefing on July 6, Psaki held out the prospect of
retaliatory action, saying that what Biden told President
Vladimir Putin during their summit in Geneva last month still
“If the Russian government cannot or will not take action
against criminal actors residing in Russia, we will take action
or reserve the right to take action on our own,” she said,
summarizing Biden’s statement to Putin. It was not clear what
sort of action could follow.
Biden said on July 6 that damage to U.S. businesses caused by
the ransomware attack appeared minimal, but added, “I’m going to
have more to say about this in the next several days.”
Information about the extent of the attack, which cybersecurity
experts have said is the biggest ransomware attack on record,
remained incomplete. The perpetrators have demanded a ransom of
$70 million. Psaki said companies should not pay any part of the
ransom as it only encourages cybercriminals to continue their
She also said Russian and U.S. representatives would meet next
week and would discuss the matter.
The Florida-based technology firm Kaseya, whose
remote-management software tool was exploited when the attack
was launched on July 2, said fewer than 1,500 businesses
worldwide appeared compromised.
The Republican National Committee said on July 6 that one of its
contractors had been breached in the attack, though it was not
immediately clear by whom.
"We immediately blocked all access," RNC Chief of Staff Richard
Walters said. "Our team worked with Microsoft to conduct a
review of our systems and after a thorough investigation, no RNC
data was accessed."
attacks are carried out by hackers who break into networks and
spread malicious computer code that encrypts a victim's digital
data. The data are unusable until the targeted company pays the
Cybersecurity experts have said the Russia-based gang known as
REvil appears to be behind the attack. The FBI believes that
REvil was behind a ransomware attack in May on the
meat-processing giant JBS. The Brazil-based company ended up
paying $11 million in bitcoin to the hackers.
Another high-profile ransomware attack in May targeted Colonial
Pipeline, which led to a shortage of gasoline in the
southeastern United States, resulting in a spike in fuel prices.
U.S. law enforcement authorities said they recovered most of the
ransom paid to the criminal group known as DarkSide in the