Biden tells Putin in call to 'take action' against ransomware groups

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Joe Biden spoke with Russian leader Vladimir Putin by phone on Friday (July 9) and told him to “take action” against ransomware groups operating in Russia, the White House said.

Biden also said the United States will take “any necessary action” to defend Americans and critical infrastructure threatened by cyberattacks, it said.

Biden “spoke with President Putin about the ongoing ransomware attacks by criminals based in Russia that have impacted the United States and other countries around the world,” the White House said in a statement.

“President Biden underscored the need for Russia to take action to disrupt ransomware groups operating in Russia and emphasised that he is committed to continued engagement on the broader threat posed by ransomware,” it said.

“President Biden reiterated that the United States will take any necessary action to defend its people and its critical infrastructure in the face of this continuing challenge.”

Ransomware attacks on the United States and other countries have increased sharply in the past year and have included a high-profile attack that shut down a major fuel pipeline in the eastern United States.

Other ransomware targets have included city police departments, hospitals and private companies.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the White House does not “have additional or new information suggesting that the Russian government directed these attacks,” but that the Kremlin has “responsibility to take action.”

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