National security adviser Jake Sullivan said the administration will address ransomware, which he called a “national security priority” at every stop of President Biden’s first foreign trip as President, saying the US hopes to see commitments from its allies on how to address cyber threats.
“Ransomware is a national security priority, particularly as it relates to ransomware attacks on critical infrastructure in the United States, and we will treat it as such in the G7, we will treat it as such at every stop along the way on this trip,” Sullivan said at Monday’s White House press briefing.
Pressed by CNN’s Phil Mattingly on what specific commitments the US would like to see on ransomware coming out of the G7 and NATO summits, Sullivan said he hopes there is the start of an “action plan” between the US and its allies across a number of critical areas in regards to continued ransomware threats.
“First, how to deal with the increasing the robustness and resilience of our defenses against ransomware attacks collectively. Second how to share information about the nature of the threat among our democracies. Third, how to deal with the cryptocurrency challenge which is lies at the core of how these ransom transactions are played out,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan added he wants to address how the countries at the G7 can “collectively speak with one voice to those countries, including Russia, that are harboring or permitting cyber criminals to operate from their territory.”
Some more context: In an interview with Axios, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Biden’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin is happening “not in spite of” the cyberattacks, but “because of them,” and Biden will warn Putin “directly and clearly what he can expect from the United States if aggressive, reckless actions toward us continue.”
“We will also speak in the NATO context about cyber threats, particularly as they relate to critical infrastructure, as being of a different order of magnitude of security threat that the alliance has to concern itself with a way that it hasn't historically, but it's got to become a priority going forward,” Sullivan said.
CNN reported Friday that Biden and White House officials are increasingly worried about a major attack on various sectors.