The Joe Biden Administration plans to apply a series of sanctions to Russia in the coming weeks for the massive 2020 cyberattack on nine US government agencies and about 100 private companies, according to The Washington Post. The United States has not yet identified those responsible for the cyber operation, but intelligence teams maintain that it is “probably” the Kremlin. The White House is also working to establish a punishment for Moscow for the poisoning and imprisonment of the best-known opposition leader Alexei Navalni, reports Political.
For more than six months, Russian pirates spied on the United States government, accessing the systems of at least six departments, including Defense, State, Commerce, and the Treasury. The hackers infiltrated through updates from a software from the Texan firm SolarWinds. The Administration has rated the SolarWinds operation as “indiscriminate” and potentially “disruptive”. If confirmed that the Kremlin was behind, this would be the hack more sophisticated to obtain information from the US Government by Moscow from 2014 and 2015.
Intelligence officials and experts in cyber security and research said in January that behind the hacking was “probably” the Kremlin and its prominent cyber espionage units. According The Washington PostThe Biden Administration intends to attribute the sophisticated operation to Moscow more categorically and is developing defensive measures to make it more difficult for Russia and other adversaries to endanger federal and private sector networks. The Operation SolarWinds it was uncovered three months after Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed to Washington a truce to prevent incidents in cyberspace.
Addressing “Russian recklessness and hacking on networks in the United States and throughout Europe and the world has become critical to protecting our collective security,” Biden said last week at the Munich Security Conference. The Deputy Advisor for Cybersecurity of the United States Department of Homeland Security, Anne Neuberger, warned last Wednesday that it will take “several months” to clarify the great cyber operation that compromised the heart of the Administration: “We believe that we are in the initial stages in when it comes to understanding dimensions and scale, ”he added.
Sanctions on Moscow will not only respond to the cyber attack. Washington seeks to hold Russia accountable for other actions, such as the use of a chemical weapon against opponent Navalni and his subsequent imprisonment. If this punishment is implemented, it will be the first significant action of the Biden era to hold the Kremlin accountable for human rights abuses. According Political, the medium that uncovered the news, the US is expected to coordinate possible sanctions with its European allies.