The general who leads the US efforts against computer attacks from abroad and to punish the perpetrators is preparing “barriers” against incursions that have weakened government agencies and companies responsible for critical infrastructure.
Paul Nakasone, in an interview with AP, generally referred to “an intense focus” by government experts to improve the collection and sharing of information about cyberattacks “and impose costs where necessary”.
These costs include publicly linking opposing countries to major attacks and exposing how those attacks were carried out, he said.
“Until six months ago, we’d probably say ‘Ransomware? (penetrates a computer system to lock it and demand a ransom to unlock it) It’s criminal activity,'” Nakasone said. “But if it has an impact on the nation, as we’ve seen, then it becomes a national security issue. And if it’s a national security issue, then we have to prepare for it.”
A devastating wave of computer attacks compromised sensitive government records and led to the closure of operations at energy companies, hospitals, and schools.
A campaign of espionage attacks by SolarWinds has exposed the email addresses of 80% of accounts used by prosecutors’ offices in New York and various other government departments.
Another computer attack on Microsoft’s email server affected a potential universe of tens of thousands of users.
Nakasone heads the National Security Agency (NSA), which oversees foreign communications, and Cyber Command, the Pentagon’s structure for attacks in this area. Although the two organizations work in secret, they have been part of the White House’s effort to publicly identify the people and states responsible for the attacks.
The White House has linked SolarWinds to Russian intelligence and the Microsoft attack on China.
US President Joe Biden directly pressured his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in July to act against hackers.
But Federal Police Deputy Director (FBI), Paul Abbate, said today that there are no signs that Moscow officials are cracking down on the perpetrators of the ‘ransomware attacks.
Abbate, Nakasone, and other members of the Biden government spoke today at a conference on information and national security.
Nakasone is also overseeing efforts to track and nullify foreign efforts to influence US elections.
Earlier this year, Nakasone revealed that Cyber Command has carried out more than two dozen operations to nullify interference in the 2020 presidential election.
In July, Biden said the Russian Federation had already begun to disseminate distorted information leading to midterm elections in 2022, calling the operation “a pure violation of US sovereignty.”
Nakasone declined to detail the allegations against the Russian Federation, saying the intelligence services were “generating clues that they would then share in the not-too-distant future”.
Source: with Agencies