President Joe Biden walked off stage on Tuesday after fielding only one question from reporters on the latest cyberattacks to impact U.S. businesses.
The question came at the end of a press conference about the administration’s vaccination efforts following their failure to get 70% of the country vaccinated by July 4.
“Mr. President on the latest ransomware attack, can you tell us if you believe that rises to the level of U.S. retaliation?” a reporter asked Biden.
“I can tell you a couple things. I received an update from my national security team this morning,” Biden responded. “It appears to have caused minimal damage to U.S. businesses, but we’re still gathering information to the full extent of the attack. And I’m gonna have more to say about this. In the next several days, we’re getting more detailed information. That’s what I can tell you now, and I feel good about our ability to, ugh…”
Biden then turned and rushed off stage as he refused to answer another question on whether Putin was testing him.
WATCH: Joe Biden AGAIN reads directly off his notes to answer question on the latest Russian cyberattack. pic.twitter.com/BLgtzfmD01
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) July 6, 2021
The Daily Wire reported earlier on Tuesday:
Hundreds of American businesses were hit by what was described as “an unusually sophisticated ransomware attack” that “hijacked widely used technology management software from a Miami-based supplier called Kaseya,” Reuters reported. “The attackers changed a Kaseya tool called VSA, used by companies that manage technology at smaller businesses. They then encrypted the files of those providers’ customers simultaneously.”
Security firm Huntress Labs said that they believe that the Russia-linked REvil ransomware gang was behind the attack, the same group that the FBI said was behind an attack on a meat company last month. The criminal organization offered a software key on the dark web late on Sunday for $70 million in Bitcoin that they said would unlock everything. The group claimed that they “launched an attack on MSP providers” that resulted in “more than a million systems” being infected.
Biden appeared to struggle when asked about the attack over the weekend in Michigan as he again had to read off a piece of paper.
WATCH: Confused Joe Biden has to pull out notes to answer question on Russia pic.twitter.com/L2eUnXlSJQ
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) July 3, 2021
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki addressed the issue at Tuesday’s press conference, claiming that the administration have “undertaken expert level talks that are continuing, and we expect to have another meeting next week, focused on ransomware attacks.”
“And I will just reiterate a message that these officials are sending, as the President made clear to President Putin when they met, 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,” Psaki said. “Now, in this case, the intelligence community has yet attributed the attack. The cyber security community agrees that REvil operates out of Russia with affiliates around the world. So we will continue to allow that assessment to continue, but in our conversations and we have been in touch directly, we are continuing to convey that message clearly.”