White House warns Russia prepping possible cyberattacks against US

The White House on Monday urged private companies to bolster their cyber defenses, citing evolving intelligence suggesting the Russian government is exploring “options for potential cyberattacks” targeting U.S. critical infrastructure.

“To be clear, there is no certainty there will be a cyber incident on critical infrastructure,” White House deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technology Anne Neuberger told reporters during a briefing on Monday afternoon.

“This is a call to action and a call to responsibility for all of us,” she said.

The administration has warned in recent weeks that Russia could look to target infrastructure in the U.S. or elsewhere with cyberattacks, but officials previously said there was no specific or credible threats against the U.S.

Neuberger said Monday that officials have seen some “preparatory activity” and that the administration briefed companies who could be affected in a classified setting last week.

“There is no evidence of any specific, cyberattack that we are anticipating for,” she said. “There is some preparatory activity that we’re seeing and that is what we shared in a classified context with companies who we thought might be affected.”

The White House is urging companies to mandate the use of multi-factor authentication, run emergency drills to prepare response plans, deploy security tools to look for threats, back up and encrypt data, and take other steps to secure information and bolster security to protect against cyber threats.

The Biden administration last month attributed cyberattacks targeting Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense and banks to Russia. Those attacks occurred before Russia invaded Ukraine.

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