President Biden took a chilling message to a Business Roundtable meeting in Washington on Monday, warning the private sector that it was time to immediately harden its online defenses as a “patriotic obligation.”
“The magnitude of Russia’s cyber capacity is fairly consequential, and it’s coming,” the President warned. “He hasn’t used it yet, but it’s part of his playbook,” Biden said of Putin.
In a briefing on Monday, White House deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technology Anne Neuberger said “preparatory activity” had been detected, and that the administration had briefed companies and sectors who could be affected in a classified setting last week.
The White House distributed a fact sheet urging companies to mandate the use of multi-factor authentication; patch their systems; run emergency drills to prepare response plans; deploy security tools to look for threats; back up data; encrypt data; and take other steps to secure information and bolster security to protect against cyber threats.
United States government departments, hospitals, critical infrastructure and utilities could be targets of the attacks by Putin’s government agencies or criminal gangs.