US President Joe Biden and his Russian Federation counterpart Vladimir Putin have traded barbs over cyber-attacks at a summit meeting staged yesterday in Switzerland.
The readout of Biden’s post-summit press conference states that what the two presidents “… spent a great deal of time on was cyber and cybersecurity.”
“I talked about the proposition that certain critical infrastructure should be off limits to attack — period — by cyber or any other means.”
Biden gave Putin a list of “16 specific entities … defined as critical infrastructure under US policy, from the energy sector to our water systems.”
The US President also raised the topic of ransomware, telling Putin “Responsible countries need to take action against criminals who conduct ransomware activities on their territory.”
Russia’s press conference transcript records Putin as saying the USA and Russia “have agreed that we will begin consultations on this.”
“In my opinion, this is extremely important,” Putin said, without offering details.
But Putin’s premise was that the USA is the aggressor that needs to explain its actions, not Russia.
He mentioned an unnamed US-based source that asserts the USA is the world’s leading source of cyber-attacks. Russia isn’t on the list, Putin said.
The President added that Russia stands accused of ten attacks on US entities, but sent 45 complaints about US-sourced attacks to Washington in 2020 and another 35 so far in 2021.
“We haven’t received a single answer so far,” Putin said.
The Russian leader also said his nation cannot bear any responsibility for the ransomware payment made by Colonial Pipeline.
Both nations described the talks as useful despite obvious tensions.
Only one concrete action emerged from the summit: a Joint Declaration on Strategic Stability that outlined plans to stage a new “Strategic Stability Dialogue” which will try to “lay the groundwork for future arms control and risk reduction measures.”
However, that Dialogue will focus on kinetic and nuclear weapons. And Biden didn’t echo Putin’s remarks on cybersecurity “consultation”. ®