Biden Finally Calls Putin About Ransomware Attacks but Leaves a Lot of Questions

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Joe Biden said he’d finally spoken to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday about disrupting the ransomware attacks from Russian-connected groups against various entities in the United States. The targets of the attacks have included the Colonial Pipeline, JBS Meats, and the latest attack — which some called the biggest global ransomware attack ever  — which impacted thousands of companies around the world after managed service providers were hit.

“I made it very clear to him that the United States expects when a ransomware operation is coming from his soil, even though it’s not sponsored by the state, we expect them to act if we give them enough information to act on who that is,” Biden said.

Here’s the synopsis of what was covered in the call with Putin.

What Biden said would have been fine. For the first or second time it happened. Not for where we are now, after the fourth or fifth time in this latest spate of attacks. At this point, we already should have seen action taken, but we’re still just seeing warnings. This was after the big warning that Biden already supposedly gave Putin in Geneva with the 16 targets that Putin wasn’t supposed to hit. It’s after that big warning that we got the biggest global attack to date. Biden’s not supposed to be asking them nicely at this point.

There’s also another apparent issue in the call. Biden said he thought that he would get cooperation from Russia for his requests about taking action in regard to the ransomware attacks, according to Fox. But then in the Kremlin readout of the meeting, they said that “no requests have been received” from the U.S. regarding cybersecurity.

So which is it? Did Biden tell them to get on it? Why are they just acting like he didn’t then? In either case, it sounds like they’re basically acting like they’re blowing him off if they’re saying there were no requests. That’s not a good response.

According to Fox, a senior administration official tried to counter and explain that, saying that “multiple actions had been relayed through Russian channels.” So did Biden warn him and tell him to disrupt the ransomware groups or not?