Russia on Tuesday denied any involvement in the cyberattack that crippled an American pipeline responsible for almost half of the East Coast’s fuel supply and lamented that the U.S. doesn’t cooperate more with Moscow on countering devastating threats.
“Russia has nothing to do with these hacker attacks, and had nothing to do with the previous hacker attacks,” Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told reporters Tuesday morning. “We categorically do not accept any accusations against us.”
Peskov’s comments follow growing speculation in the U.S. that Russia at least tacitly approved – if not orchestrated – the ransomware attack over the weekend on the Colonial Pipeline, which serves 50 million Americans, according to some estimates. As of Tuesday morning, the pipeline was still largely offline with a goal of substantially resuming operations by week’s end. The Kremlin’s explanation also comes a month after the Biden administration enacted sanctions and other punishments against Russia for what U.S. intelligence believes is its involvement in a widespread hack on federal servers identified last year.
The FBI in a two-sentence statement on Monday confirmed the most recent attack was carried out by a group known as Darkside, believed to be based in Eastern Europe. It was still investigating the origins and effects of the attack.
The incident represents “the most significant publicly known cyberattack on the U.S. energy sector,” according to an analysis note from private intelligence firm Stratfor early Tuesday, “and exposes the vulnerability of U.S. critical infrastructure and U.S. companies to ransomware attacks, attacks the U.S. government is increasingly trying to combat.” It noted such attacks have increased 485% from 2019 to 2020.
President Joe Biden said the U.S. as of Monday did not yet have evidence the attack was state-sponsored or that Russia was involved, but he added, “There is evidence that the actors, ransomware, is in Russia.”
“I’m going to be meeting with President Putin,” Biden added, referencing his overtures to the Russian leader following his punitive measures for the hack on government computers known as SolarWinds. “They have some responsibility to deal with this.”
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Source: US News & World Report