WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said Wednesday that he was examining whether the U.S. would retaliate for a cyberattack linked to Russian-based hackers targeting the country’s largest meat producer.
“We’re looking closely at that issue,” Biden said when asked if he could retaliate against Russia.
When asked if he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin was testing him, Biden said no.
JBS, one of the world's largest international meat processors, was hacked Sunday, the company said in a statement, forcing it to take systems offline and stop work, which is now raising concerns about future shortages or supply disruptions.
The hack came less than four weeks after a similar one by criminals believed to be operating in Russia against Colonial Pipeline, a major U.S. fuel supplier, which prompted a shutdown of the pipeline for five days and led to shortages at gas stations from North Carolina to Maryland.
The White House said Tuesday that they believe the most recent ransom demand came from a criminal organization, likely based in Russia.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the administration isn’t “taking any options off the table” with regard to a response.
Psaki said the increase of attacks coming from Russian-based hackers will be an issue Biden will raise when he meets with Putin in two weeks.
“There will be an opportunity for the president to discuss this directly with President Putin to reiterate the fact that we believe that responsible states do not harbor ransomware criminals,” Psaki said.