White House Condemns Russia For NotPetya Ransomware Attack

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

American officials warn of ‘international consequences’ for Russia because of NotPetya ransomware attack

The United States has joined the United Kingdom in identifying the Russian military as being responsible for the NotPetya ransomware outbreak last year.

The White House condemned Moscow for the ransomware attack that started off targetting Ukrainian government networks and financial and energy assets, before spreading around the world.

America, like the British earlier this week, has warned Russia that there will be consequences for its actions.

NotPetya

International Consequences

The attack launched in June 2017 by the Russian military “spread worldwide, causing billions of dollars in damage across Europe, Asia and the Americas,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was quoted by Reuters as saying in a statement.

“It was part of the Kremlin’s ongoing effort to destabilise Ukraine and demonstrates ever more clearly Russia’s involvement in the ongoing conflict,” Sanders said. “This was also a reckless and indiscriminate cyber attack that will be met with international consequences.”

The US government is “reviewing a range of options,” a senior White House official reportedly said when asked what consequences Russia would face.

Russia on Thursday denied being behind the attack, saying the accusations were part of a “Russophobic” campaign that it said was being waged by some Western countries.

It is understood that the White House had intended to release a statement about ‘NotPetya’ at the same time as the British government on Thursday.

Howewer those plans were delayed due to the tragic school shooting in Florida.

Western Anger

The West is increasingly calling out Russia, and other countries such as North Korea, when it identifies them as being the source of damaging cyber-attacks.

Last month Trend Micro said that the ‘Fancy Bear’ hacking group, allegedly linked to the Russian military, attacked a number of political targets late last year, including the US Senate and organisations linked to the Olympic Games

And in December foreign secretary Boris Johnson on a visit to Russia warned it should stop cyber-attacks that threaten the UK’s national security or face retaliation.

It comes after an official report revealed that the UK has more than doubled the number of its offensive cyber-capabilities in recent years.

The previous Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has also said that Russia is carrying out a sustained campaign of cyber attacks targeting democracy and critical infrastructure in the West.

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