Biden again urges Putin to stop ransomware attacks against U.S.


President Biden urged Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call Friday to take action to stop persistent ransomware attacks against the U.S.

It was the same message that Mr. Biden delivered to Mr. Putin in person at a summit last month, apparently to no avail. He again warned Mr. Putin that the U.S. is prepared to retaliate.

The White House said Friday that Mr. Biden “spoke with President Putin about the ongoing ransomware attacks by criminals based in Russia that have impacted the United States and other countries around the world.”

“President Biden underscored the need for Russia to take action to disrupt ransomware groups operating in Russia and emphasized that he is committed to continued engagement on the broader threat posed by ransomware,” the White House 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.”

Russian hackers are accused of attacking a contractor for the Republican National Committee last week, while  Russian cybercriminals with the gang REvil also launched what is believed to be the single largest global ransomware attack around the same time.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Mr. Biden urged the Russian leader in the hourlong call to intervene against the hacking “even if it is not directed by the Russian government.” She declined to tell reporters about Mr. Putin’s response.

Despite the tensions, Mr. Biden also found reason to compliment Mr. Putin on their efforts to help Syrian refugees.

“The leaders commended the joint work of their respective teams following the U.S.-Russia Summit that led to the unanimous renewal of cross-border humanitarian assistance to Syria today in the UN Security Council,” the White House said.

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