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March 23, 2022

The Russians Are Coming

Joe Biden warns about more Russian cyberattacks against the United States.

The power went out yesterday afternoon here at our humble shop when a local transformer blew, and the first joke on everyone’s lips was “the Russians are coming.” While that was humor in our situation, Russian cyberattacks are indeed very real and a major potential threat.

Even a dullard like Joe Biden gets it. “The more [Vladimir Putin’s] back is against the wall, the greater the severity of the tactics he may employ,” Biden said this week. “One of the tools he’s most likely to use in my view, in our view, is cyberattacks.” He added, “The magnitude of Russia’s cyber capacity is fairly consequential and it’s coming.”

Swallow your coffee for this, but Biden is right.

And the threat is not even something we can lay entirely at his feet. After all, Russia was hacking the Pentagon back when Biden was only vice president. It was a fine return for the “flexibility” Barack Obama promised Putin’s right-hand man in 2012 while scoffing at Mitt Romney’s warnings about Russia. A fine return for that moronic “reset” button then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cackled about with her Russian counterpart.

No sooner had Biden assumed the presidency last year than the Kremlin’s crime cutouts hit the U.S. with the worst cyberattack in our history, temporarily crippling a major oil pipeline. Now Team Biden is warning of more to come.

Anne Neuberger, White House deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technology, warned of “evolving threat intelligence that the Russian government is exploring options for potential cyberattacks on critical infrastructure in the United States.” She promises there’s “no evidence of any specific cyberattack that we’re anticipating,” but pointed to “some preparatory activity that we’re seeing,” but also insisted, “To be clear, there is no intelligence that there will be a cyberattack on critical infrastructure.”

Is that clear?

Neuberger then added: “As the president has said, the United States is not seeking confrontation with Russia, but he has also said that if Russia conducts disruptive cyberattacks against critical infrastructure, we will be prepared to respond.”

Maybe by hitting that reset button.

Critical infrastructure has already included the Pentagon and our oil supply lines. We’ve warned before about the vulnerability of our electrical grid and other utilities like water. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan pointed to banks as another possible target.

Biden himself warned American companies to “harden your cyber defenses immediately,” and the White House has a fact sheet about doing so. More than that, Biden told members of the Business Roundtable that this is their “patriotic obligation.” He, of course, has also said that about paying higher taxes, so there’s that.

Cybersecurity is serious business in a world that depends so heavily on technology. That’s yet another reason why it’s a bad idea to embolden Russia with American weakness.

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