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Biden, Putin Discuss Ransomware Attacks From Russia

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U.S. President Joe Biden said he discussed recent ransomware attacks on the U.S. from Russia in a phone call Friday with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Biden said he told Putin, “I made it very clear to him that the United States expects when a ransomware operation is coming from his soil, even though it’s not sponsored by the state, we expect them to act if we give them enough information to act on who that is.”

He told reporters at a White House signing ceremony Friday that the call “went well. I’m optimistic.”

When asked if there would be consequences if Russia did not take action against ransonware criminals, he answered, “Yes.”

Biden also said the two leaders “set up a means of communication now on a regular basis” to discuss such issues.

Russia denies responsibility

Recent ransomware attacks have been linked to groups based in Russia. The Kremlin has denied any responsibility for the attacks.

The White House said in a statement after the call that “President Biden underscored the need for Russia to take action to disrupt ransomware groups operating in Russia.”

It said, “President Biden reiterated that the United States will take any necessary action to defend its people and its critical infrastructure in the face of this continuing challenge.”

The Kremlin said that the two leaders agreed to cooperate on issues of cybersecurity and that the collaboration “must be permanent, professional and nonpoliticized and should be conducted via special communication channels … and with respect to international law.”

The call came more than three weeks after the two leaders met in Geneva on June 16, when Biden appealed to Putin to crack down on cyber hackers in Russia.

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