President-elect Joe Biden said on Tuesday that the perpetrators of a massive cyber attack on the US government, unofficially blamed on Russia, must face consequences and attacked President Donald Trump for his response to the threat.
“We can’t let this go unanswered,” Biden said in pre-holiday comments to the American people.
“This means clarifying who is responsible for the attack and taking significant steps to take them into account.”
Biden, who, as the incumbent president, has received briefings on major national security issues, says he remains largely unaware of the extent of the damage caused by the attack.
Last week, the US cyber security agency said a well-coordinated, highly technical operation broke into the US government and corporate systems a few months ago by hacking into widely used security software.
“I don’t see any evidence that it’s under control,” Biden said, responding to Trump’s counter-claim.
“This president has not even identified who is responsible yet,” he said.
He warned that he would retaliate once he became president on January 20.
“When I find out the extent of the damage and, in fact, who is formally responsible, they can be sure that we will respond and probably respond in kind,” he said.
“There are many options that I will not discuss now.”
– Devastating violation –
According to US officials, the most devastating breach of US computer security in recent years has affected at least the state departments of trade, treasury, energy and internal security, as well as the National Institutes of Health.
Analysts expect that other departments, including key intelligence agencies, have also been victims of the hack and that it could take months or more to assess the damage.
Biden called the attack a “serious risk to our national security” and criticized Trump for emphasizing cybersecurity in his nearly four years in office.
The attack, he said, was “carefully planned and orchestrated. It was carried out using sophisticated cyber tools.”
“The attackers managed to catch the federal government unprepared and unprepared.”
He accused Trump of falling to his job to protect the country and of “irrationally minimizing the severity of this attack.”
“It is still his responsibility as president to defend American interests over the next four weeks,” he said.
“This assault happened at Donald Trump’s watch when he was not looking,” Biden said. “Rest assured, even if he doesn’t take it seriously, I will.”
The administration did not officially attribute the attacks to any country or person, even though senior officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General Bill Barr, as well as senior members of Congress informed about the matter, all gave Russia.
However, Trump last week accused the media of always making a threat to Russia.
“Cyber Hacking is much bigger in Fake News Media than it is today,” Trump posted.
“I was fully informed and everything is well under control,” he wrote.
“Russia, Russia, Russia is the priority song when anything happens,” he said, suggesting that China could be the perpetrator.
sms-ec-pmh / acb