Biden considers punishing Russia over U.S. hack

President-elect Biden’s team is looking at several options to punish Russia for its suspected role in the unprecedented piracy of US government agencies and companies once he takes office.

Among the proposed options for the Biden team are new financial sanctions, cyber attacks against Russian infrastructure and an escalation of the fight against cyber espionage.

The response must be strong enough to impose an economic or technological shudder against the perpetrators, while avoiding an escalation of the conflict between the two nuclear-armed adversaries.

It appears that the overall goal of any measure is to create an effective deterrent and reduce the effectiveness of Russian cyber espionage in the future.

The unfolding crisis – and a lack of vision about the extent to which the computer networks of federal agencies have been infiltrated – are high on Biden’s agenda when he takes office on January 20.

Donald Trump admitted the piracy nearly a week after its emergence, downplayed its importance, and questioned that the Russians are responsible, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Russia publicly.

Biden advisers need to have a full view of US capabilities, and he also needs to better understand intelligence about a cyber breach before making any decisions.

Biden told CBS: They will be held accountable, and has pledged to impose financial ramifications on individuals and entities, and the response could be an early test of the president-elect’s promise to cooperate more effectively with allies.

The massive data breach has allowed hackers believed to be from the Russian foreign intelligence service SVR to explore networks of government agencies, private companies and think tanks.

Moscow has denied involvement, and media reports indicated that a hacking group linked to the Russian foreign intelligence service, known as the Cozy Bear, was responsible for the attacks.

In July, the United States, Britain and Canada accused the Cozy Bear group of trying to steal the vaccine and curative research for the Coronavirus.

Analysts said: The US government led by Biden should consider imposing sanctions against SVR at the very least, although the move would be largely symbolic.

The US Treasury has imposed financial sanctions against other Russian security services, such as the FSB and the GRU.

Financial sanctions imposed against business empires owned by people linked to President Vladimir Putin may be more effective, as they block access to transactions in dollars.

The US cyber leadership in the Pentagon could paralyze the Russian technology infrastructure, by disrupting telephone networks or refusing internet procedures, but this move could also harm European allies.

Russia could also be banned from using the Swift system for international bank transfers and financial correspondence, a move that would prevent Russian companies from processing payments from foreign customers.

Such a move was contemplated in 2014 when Russia annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, but it harms the Russian energy sector, complicates gas sales to Europe, and harms European companies with Russian operations.

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