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Biden considers Russian sanctions in retaliation for SolarWinds hack

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  • President-elect Joe Biden is considering financial sanctions and coordinated cyber attacks against Russia, according to Reuters.
  • Biden on Thursday said his government would make the breach a “top priority” from its first day. 
  • Biden’s administration will be “imposing substantial costs on those responsible for such malicious attacks, including in coordination with our allies and partners,” he said on Thursday. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President-elect Joe Biden reportedly is considering sanctions or a retaliatory cyber attack as a rebuttal to Russia for a massive government hack revealed last week.

Once in office, Biden may consider financial sanctions against Russia, according to Reuters, which cited unnamed sources close to the president-elect. Sources told Reuters that response would need to demonstrate strength, while being careful not to further escalate tensions between the US and Russia. 

In a Thursday statement on Thursday, Biden had said his government would make the breach a “top priority” from its first day, but did not at the time name Russia as being responsible for the hack.  

“But a good defense isn’t enough; we need to disrupt and deter our adversaries from undertaking significant cyber attacks in the first place. We will do that by, among other things, imposing substantial costs on those responsible for such malicious attacks, including in coordination with our allies and partners,” he said on Thursday. 

The scope of the hack on Washington snowballed throughout the week, after reports began trickling out last Sunday about compromised software at the US Treasury Dept. and Commerce Dept. Widely used software from Texas-based SolarWinds may have been compromised months ago, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigations. The hack may include thousands of companies and government agencies. It’s “significant and ongoing,” said the FBI.

The White House had reportedly planned a statement blaming Russia, but officials were told to stand down.

On Friday, Mike Pompeo, secretary of state, said Russia was “pretty clearly” behind the cyber attack. But President Donald Trump seemed to walk that idea back on Saturday, saying on Twitter that “the Cyber Hack is far greater in the Fake News Media than in actuality.” 

He said: “I have been fully briefed and everything is well under control. Russia, Russia, Russia is the priority chant when anything happens because Lamestream is, for mostly financial reasons, petrified of…discussing the possibility that it may be China (it may!). There could also have been a hit on our ridiculous voting machines during the election, which is now obvious that I won big, making it an even more corrupted embarrassment for the USA.”

 

 

Rep. Marcy Kaptur on Friday assigned blame to Russia for the hack, saying it was “deeply troubling especially given the ongoing presidential transition of power.” She called for the US to work with international allies to respond to Russia. 

“A coordinated domestic response supported by international Allies will echo loudly and send a clear signal to Russia and all adversaries that such acts of aggression will not be tolerated,” said Kaptur in a statement

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