In a significant development U.S. President Joe Biden warned that Washington could end in a “real shooting war” with a “major power” in the event of a significant cyberattack on the United States. The warning comes in the wake of major cyber attacks by China and Russia and clearly states what Washington perceives to be a red line.
The Biden Administration has focused on cybersecurity following a series of high profile cyberattacks on U.S. companies including Colonial Pipeline and SolarWinds, JBS and Kaseya. The attacks had multi-dimensional impact going beyond the economic impact on the targeted companies. Some of the attacks affected fuel and food supplies in many parts of the country.
“I think it’s more than likely we’re going to end up, if we end up in a war – a real shooting war with a major power – it’s going to be as a consequence of a cyber breach of great consequence and it’s increasing exponentially, the capabilities,” said Biden during a half-hour speech while visiting the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).
During a June 16 summit in Geneva, Biden shared with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, a list of critical infrastructure the U.S. considers off-limits to nation-state actors. Since then senior members of the U.S. administration has been in constant contact with senior members of the Kremlin over cyberattacks on the United States, said the White House.
Biden also highlighted multiple threats posed by China, referring to President Xi Jinping as “deadly earnest about becoming the most powerful military force in the world, as well as the largest and most prominent economy in the world by the mid-40s, the 2040s.”
In a speech to ODNI employees and senior leadership officials, Biden thanked members of U.S. intelligence agencies, saying he reposed confidence in their work.
“I’ll never politicize the work you do. You have my word on that,” said Biden. “It’s too important for our country”.