The Biden administration on Monday said it gave classified briefings last week to companies and sectors about the potential for Russian cyberattacks, as President Joe Biden and other officials offered fresh warnings about such assaults.
“We gave classified, detailed briefings to the companies and sectors for which we had some preparatory information,” said Anne Neuberger, the Biden administration’s deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technology. She said “preparatory activity” by possible attackers can include scanning websites and hunting for vulnerabilities.
“Just last week, several hundred companies were brought in to get that briefing,” Neuberger added.
She said the administration is urging companies to “act immediately to protect the services millions of Americans rely on and to use the resources the federal government makes available” noting that a White House release on Monday contains specific steps to take, such as using multifactor authentication and encrypting and backing up data.
Neuberger declined to give details about sectors that could be targeted by Russia as the country responds to Western sanctions on it triggered by its invasion of Ukraine.
“I won’t get into specific sectors at this time, because the steps that are needed to lock our digital doors need to be done across every sector of critical infrastructure, and even those sectors that we do not see any specific threat intelligence for,” she told reporters during a briefing.
Ahead of Neuberger’s remarks, Biden said in a statement that his administration is reiterating warnings “based on evolving intelligence that the Russian government is exploring options for potential cyberattacks.”
“I have previously warned about the potential that Russia could conduct malicious cyber activity against the United States, including as a response to the unprecedented economic costs we’ve imposed on Russia alongside our allies and partners,” Biden also said.