Cyber attack caused minimal damage: Biden

·2-min read

The ransomware attack centred on the Florida information technology firm Kaseya seems to have inflicted only "minimal damage" on American businesses, President Joe Biden says.

"It appears to have caused minimal damage to US businesses, but we're still gathering information," Biden told reporters on Tuesday following a briefing from advisers.

"I feel good about our ability to be able to respond."

Friday's ransomware attack scrambled the data of hundreds of small businesses worldwide, including many in the United States. REvil, a prolific, Russia-linked cybercrime syndicate, took credit for the breach.

The president's comments follow a statement from Kaseya that the attack never posed a threat to critical US infrastructure, which Biden declared off-limits during a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin last month.

But the attack was another illustration of how cybercriminals believed to be operating from Russia are running amok in the United States. Biden has sought to push Putin to bring Russian cybercriminals to heel, so far to little visible effect.

Attacks have escalated recently. Last month REvil extorted meatpacker JBS into paying an $US11 million ($A15 million) ransom after snarling its supply chain. In May an intrusion by another Russia-linked group at major US fuel transporter Colonial Pipeline led to panic buying, price spikes, and petrol shortages on the east coast.

The Republican National Committee said on Tuesday it learned at the weekend that third-party provider Synnex Corp had been breached, but an investigation by Microsoft Corp determined that no RNC data had been accessed.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said earlier on Tuesday that senior US officials would meet their Russian counterparts next week to discuss the ransomware menace.

"If the Russian government cannot or will not take action against criminal actors residing in Russia we will take action, or reserve the right to take action, on our own," she said.

The hack that struck Kaseya's clients - many of whom are back office IT shops commonly referred to as managed service providers - did not have the same kind of impact in the United States as the ransoming of Colonial Pipeline.

Disruption elsewhere was more severe.

In Sweden, many of the 800 grocery stores run by the Coop chain are still in the process of recovering from the attack, which knocked out most of its supermarkets.

In New Zealand, 11 schools and several kindergartens were affected.

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