Russia warns of covert US cyberattacks; Kremlin & other govt websites go down

Russia warns of covert US cyberattacks; Kremlin & other govt websites go down


Moscow/Washington: Russia has warned that if the United States launches covert cyberattacks on the country, it could become an international cybercrime. Russia was revealed of being behind a major cyberattack on US government departments last year. US officials have indicated that the US administration is preparing to respond to the Russian hack and launch covert cyber-attacks on its networks. Some Russian government websites went down after the statement from US officials. 

New US President Joe Biden has hinted at taking an aggressive stance against Russia. While announcing the outline of US foreign policy last month, Biden had criticised the easy stance on Russia taken by former President Trump. President Biden had alleged that Russia was trying to undermine its democracy, claiming that the United States would not roll over to Russia as during the tenure of his predecessor. 

The Biden administration has since launched a spate of anti-Russia decisions. Stating that it would never recognise Russia’s Crimea occupation, the United States announced supplying military aid to Ukraine. Strict sanctions were then imposed on Russia over the Navalny case. Now, preparations are underway to take significant action against Russia over the cyberattacks issue. 

Last year, Russian cyber-attacks had targeted private US companies such as Microsoft, FireEye and SolarWinds. Russian hackers had used the companies to carry out cyberattacks on the key government departments’ networks in the United States. These included the Departments of Defense, Energy, Treasury and Commerce. Most startling was that the United States nuclear networks were also found to have been hit due to the attacks. 

Joe Biden, who took over the presidency in January, had instructed the administration to submit a response plan. Jack Sullivan, the US National Security Adviser, and Anne Neuberger, the Deputy National Security Adviser, were assigned to the case. Also, senior US officials had indicated that critical Russian networks would be targeted, including President Vladimir Putin as well as intelligence and military agencies.  

Russia reacted sharply to the report in the US media. Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, warned that the US action would amount to cybercrime. Although he hinted that Russia would respond to it, he declined to give further details.  

However, even as the Russian spokesperson issued a warning, its government websites were going down. These include the websites of the Russian government’s Kremlin, Prime Minister, and its state communications regulator, Roskomnadzor. 

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