Rep. McCaul: It's time to consider 'hitting back' at Russia

Texas Rep. Michael McCaul on Sunday urged the U.S. to consider “hitting back” at Russia for harboring cyber ransom hackers, amping up the pressure on President Joe Biden to make the recent ransomware attacks a focus of his upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“The president needs to demonstrate with Putin, there will be consequences to your actions if you continue to do this,” the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“Sanctions are great, but I think it’s time to start thinking about hitting back,” he said.

“They need to know that — that when they do this, there are consequences to their actions and we’re going to hit them back,” McCaul added. “Until we do that, they’re going to continue with bad behavior.”

The U.S. has been hit by a growing number of ransomware attacks, with criminal networks recently taking a major interstate gasoline pipeline and one of the world’s largest meat processors offline. U.S. officials have blamed both attacks on ransomware gangs with ties to Russia.

When DarkSide, a ransomware gang based out of Russia, caused the Colonial Pipeline to shut down last month, Biden told reporters Russia had “some responsibility” to address the cyberattack.

Biden is expected to broach the attacks in his meeting with Putin on Wednesday in Geneva, Switzerland.


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