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Putin denies Russia’s involvement in cyberattacks ahead of Biden meeting

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Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected the notion of his country’s involvement in cyberattacks on elections and other economic infrastructure in the United States, calling accusations put forward by U.S. officials “farcical.”

Putin’s denial comes ahead of a scheduled meeting with President Joe Biden in Geneva, Switzerland, during which “state-sponsored cyberattacks” is expected to be a “topic of conversation” between the two leaders.

“We have been accused of all kinds of things,” Putin told NBC News’s Keir Simmons. “Election interference, cyberattacks, and so on and so forth. And not once, not once, not one time, did they bother to produce any kind of evidence or proof. Just unfounded accusations.”

Administration officials have their eyes on Russia following recent ransomware attacks targeting two major companies operating in the United States, as well as for election interference in 2016.

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JBS, the U.S.’s largest beef producer, said it paid an $11 million ransom to a Russian hacking outfit that targeted the company’s computer systems, forcing a temporary shutdown last month.

The Colonial Pipeline, the country’s largest gas pipeline, was targeted by hackers of the Russia-based group DarkSide in May, after which the company paid $4.4 million in bitcoin to regain access to its systems. The Department of Justice announced that it recovered most of the ransom on June 7.

While Biden said the Kremlin was not responsible for the Colonial Pipeline attack, basing his assessment off of a report by the FBI, on May 10, he did say that Putin and his government “have some responsibility to deal with this.”

Biden has not offered qualification on the issue of election interference, having imposed new sanctions on the Russian financial institutions in April over the issue.

“The issue of state-sponsored cyberattacks of that scope and scale remains a matter of grave concern to the United States,” Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, recently told reporters. “It will be a topic of conversation between the presidents. Us talking ransomware is not going to come to the exclusion of us talking about cyberthreats in multiple other domains.”

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Biden, who in the past has called Putin a “killer” and someone who “doesn’t have a soul,” is set to meet with the Russian president on Wednesday.

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Tags: News, Russia, Vladimir Putin, Geneva, Switzerland, Foreign Policy, Alexei Navalny, Cybersecurity

Original Author: Jeremy Beaman

Original Location: Putin denies Russia’s involvement in cyberattacks ahead of Biden meeting

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