President Joe Biden issued a formal statement urging United States businesses to immediately fortify their cybersecurity systems, in the wake of escalation in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. In his statement, President Biden warned of potential Russian-backed cyber attacks aimed at businesses, organizations, and critical services, possibly as retaliation for the United States’ support of Ukraine. This warning preceded the president’s remarks during a speech in Poland, in which he condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In his official statement, President Biden cites “evolving intelligence” that Russia intends to use cyber attacks in response to the significant economic sanctions taken by the U.S. and NATO. Strengthening the nation’s vast digital infrastructure has been a focus of the Biden administration; in January 2022, the president signed a national security memo intended to bolster the cybersecurity of National Security, Department of Defense, and Intelligence Community Systems.
The latest memo also included a fact sheet outlining steps for businesses to take in advance of any attacks, including mandatory multifactor authentication, data backup and encryption, emergency plans and exercises, and engagement with local federal law enforcement offices. Additionally, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued an advisory report warning of the exploitation of multifactor authentication protocols by bad actors, in addition to other vulnerabilities.