The general in charge of thwarting foreign-based cyberattacks and punishing those who perpetrate them says he’s launching a “surge” to combat incursions that have crippled government agencies and companies responsible for critical infrastructure. WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) –
Gen. Paul Nakasone described “an intense focus” by government specialists to better find and share information about cyberattacks and “impose costs when necessary” in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday. According to him, these costs include publicly linking adversarial countries to high-profile attacks and exposing the methods used to carry out those attacks.
“However, if it has a national security impact, as we’ve seen, it becomes a national security issue. If it’s a national security issue, we’ll undoubtedly rush in.” “We probably would have said, ‘Ransomware, that’s criminal activity,’ even six months ago,” Nakasone said.
A separate breach of Microsoft’s email server software could have affected tens of thousands of people. A devastating wave of cyberattacks has compromised sensitive government records and forced energy companies, hospitals, and schools to shut down their operations. The emails of 80% of the email accounts used by the US attorneys’ offices in New York and several other departments were exposed as part of the SolarWinds espionage campaign.
While the two organizations operate mostly in the shadows, they have been involved in a Biden administration effort to publicly identify the individuals and countries responsible for attacks. The SolarWinds hack was linked to Russian intelligence, while the Microsoft hack was linked to China, according to the White House. Nakasone is in charge of both the National Security Agency, which tracks foreign communications, and US Cyber Command, the Pentagon’s offensive attack force.
“We expect them to act if we give them enough information to act on who that is,” President Joe Biden told reporters in July, urging Russian President Vladimir Putin to take action against cyber attackers.
According to FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate, “there is no indication” that Russia has taken steps to combat ransomware. At the Intelligence & National Security Summit on Tuesday, Abbate, Nakasone, and other US government officials spoke.
He revealed earlier this year that the US Cyber Command carried out more than a half-dozen operations to thwart Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Nakasone is also in charge of tracking and thwarting foreign attempts to sway American elections.
Nakasone declined to go into detail about the allegations against Russia, saying that intelligence agencies were “generating insights” that would eventually lead to information sharing. In July, Biden claimed that Russia had already begun spreading misinformation about the 2022 midterm elections, which he described as a “pure violation of our sovereignty.”
According to Nakasone, US agencies are not aware of any specific threats related to the California gubernatorial recall election, which ends Tuesday.