AP

General promises US ‘surge’ against foreign cyberattacks

Sep 14, 2021, 9:43 AM | Updated: 10:33 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — The general who leads U.S. efforts to thwart foreign-based cyberattacks, and punish those responsible, says he’s mounting a “surge” to fight incursions that have debilitated government agencies and companies responsible for critical infrastructure.

In an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press, Gen. Paul Nakasone broadly described “an intense focus” by government specialists to better find and share information about cyberattacks and “impose costs when necessary.” Those costs include publicly linking adversarial countries to high-profile attacks and exposing the means by which those attacks were carried out, he said.

“Even six months ago, we probably would have said, ‘Ransomware, that’s criminal activity,'” Nakasone said. “But if it has an impact on a nation, like we’ve seen, then it becomes a national security issue. If it’s a national security issue, then certainly we’re going to surge toward it.”

A devastating wave of cyberattacks has compromised sensitive government records and at times led to the shutdown of the operations of energy companies, hospitals and schools. The SolarWinds espionage campaign exposed the emails of 80% of the email accounts used by the U.S. attorneys’ offices in New York and several other departments. A separate hack of Microsoft email server software affected potentially tens of thousands.

Nakasone jointly leads the National Security Agency, the chief intelligence agency tracking foreign communications, and U.S. Cyber Command, the Pentagon’s force for offensive attacks. While the two organizations work mostly in secret, they have been part of a Biden administration effort to publicly identify the people and countries behind attacks. The White House has linked the SolarWinds breach to Russian intelligence and the Microsoft hack to China.

President Joe Biden directly pressed Russian President Vladimir Putin in July to take action against cyber attackers, telling reporters, “We expect them to act if we give them enough information to act on who that is.”

FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate said “there is no indication” yet that Russia had acted to crack down on ransomware. Abbate, Nakasone and other U.S. government officials spoke Tuesday at the Intelligence & National Security Summit.

Nakasone also oversees efforts to track and stop foreign efforts to influence U.S. elections. He disclosed earlier this year that U.S. Cyber Command conducted more than two dozen operations intended to thwart interference in last year’s presidential election.

Biden said in July that Russia had already begun efforts to spread misinformation regarding the 2022 midterm elections, calling them a “pure violation of our sovereignty.” Nakasone declined to detail allegations against Russia, saying intelligence agencies were “generating insights which will move to sharing information in the not too distant future.”

U.S. agencies are not aware of any specific threats related to the California gubernatorial recall election that concludes Tuesday, Nakasone said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Several hundred students and pro-Palestinian supporters rally at the intersection of Grove and Coll...

Associated Press

Pro-Palestinian protests sweep US college campuses following mass arrests at Columbia

Columbia canceled in-person classes, dozens of protesters were arrested at New York University and Yale, and the gates to Harvard Yard were closed to the public Monday.

2 days ago

Ban on sleeping outdoors under consideration in Supreme Court...

Associated Press

With homelessness on the rise, the Supreme Court weighs bans on sleeping outdoors

The Supreme Court is wrestling with major questions about the growing issue of homelessness as it considers a ban on sleeping outdoors.

2 days ago

Arizona judge declares mistrial in case of rancher who shot migrant...

Associated Press

Arizona judge declares mistrial in the case of a rancher accused of fatally shooting a migrant

An Arizona judge declared a mistrial in the case of rancher accused of killing a Mexican man on his property near the U.S.-Mexico border.

2 days ago

Donald Trump appears in court for opening statements in his criminal trial for allegedly covering u...

Associated Press

Trump tried to ‘corrupt’ the 2016 election, prosecutor alleges as hush money trial gets underway

Donald Trump's criminal trial in New York over alleged hush money payments started with opening statements on Monday.

2 days ago

This satellite image from Planet Labs PBC shows Iran's nuclear site in Isfahan, Iran, April 4, 2024...

Associated Press

Israel, Iran play down apparent Israeli strike. The muted responses could calm tensions — for now

Israel and Iran are both playing down an apparent Israeli airstrike near a major air base and nuclear site in central Iran.

5 days ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., talks to reporters just after lawmakers pushed a $95 bill...

Associated Press

Ukraine, Israel aid advances in rare House vote as Democrats help Republicans push it forward

The House pushed ahead Friday on a foreign aid package of $95 billion for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and other sources of humanitarian support.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

General promises US ‘surge’ against foreign cyberattacks