Russian President Vladimir Putin has reacted fiercely to the contents of a report in the The New York Times this week that cited unnamed senior admin officials to say the White House is preparing a series of devastating cyberattacks on Russia as ‘retaliation’ for the SolarWinds hack.
A spokesman for the Russian presidency, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters on Tuesday that the “alarming information” would constitute a “pure international cybercrime” and is thus condemned under international law.
“The Russian state has never had anything to do with cybercrimes and cyberterrorism it is being accused of,” Peskov emphasized.
Specifically addressing the NY Times report further, Peskov added, “the fact that the newspaper doesn’t rule out that the American state could be involved in cybercrime, is definitely of great concern to us.”
Amazingly, the anonymous Biden admin officials revealed to the Times that a “series of clandestine actions across Russian networks” are expected to start within the next three weeks.
The cyber-operations will by design seek to get Putin and Russian intelligence’s attention while being concealed from the broader public when it occurs, the NYT report said.
Detailing the Kremlin’s condemnation and warning against any such cyber espionage, US News & World Report writes:
He spoke in response to a series of claims from U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and FBI Director Christopher Wray, that they are considering harsh punishments on Russia for the attack, including overt sanctions and some form of covert salvos in the cyber realm. Wray hinted at the action in testimony before Congress this month, saying the U.S. was preparing cyber “joint sequenced operations.”
Multiple US intelligence agencies had issued a rare joint statement in the wake of the SolarWinds intrusion, saying it was “likely” Russia behind it, though without offering evidence or specific intelligence verification of the allegation.
Russian officials have demanded the US categorically rule out acts of ‘cyberterrorism’ against the country, after media reports said Washington was mulling digital “retaliation” for a colossal hack attack it blames on Moscow. Kremlin says it’s ‘alarmed’ https://t.co/hRpNadxCnx
— Bryan MacDonald (@27khv) March 10, 2021
However, it’s since been confirmed that SolarWinds has largely faulted its own severe security lapses, including the fact that an update server’s password was literally “solarwinds123” – which had been leaked by an employee online beginning years ago, according to prior Congressional testimony.