Cyber attacks can lead to ‘real war’
President Joe Biden on Tuesday warned that if the United States ended up in a "real shooting war" with a "major power" it could be the result of a significant cyber attack 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 United States.
"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 June 16 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.
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."
The United States and Russia were holding a fresh round of talks in Geneva yesterday aimed at stabilising the thorny relationship between Moscow and Washington.
The talks, being led by US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, are expected to last most of the day. Both sides said they do not expect any major breakthroughs in the talks.