Experts: Latest Cyberattack Putin’s Show of Strength Ahead of the Summit

"Vladimir Putin" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Global Panorama

In recent months, Russia-based cyberattacks have been targeting the United States. Experts believe that these attacks are related to the forthcoming Geneva meeting on June 16. 

The latest cyberattack this week closed U.S.-based meat producers and one of the largest meatpackers, JBS company. Then, a statement made by the White House claimed that people responsible for these attacks are criminal groups that are most likely stationed and organized in Russia. 

Breaking News from the CIA

In a statement made by former CIA Moscow station chief and Fox News contributor Daniel Hoffman, he said that all of these movements are Putin’s “resurgence strategy.”

Hoffman also added that these attacks are happening as a “show of force” leading up to the upcoming summit on June 16. 

The attack on one of the major meat suppliers to the U.S. comes weeks after the largest U.S. fuel pipeline was compromised and targeted by criminal groups from Russia. Then in April, Putin deployed tens of thousands of troops on the border of Ukraine. 

However, the Biden administration declined to confront Putin after the fuel pipeline attack. They emphasized that the United States does not believe that the Russian government was involved in it. 

On May 13, Biden again claimed that the White House does not believe the Russian government was part of the cyberattack. However, they do have a powerful reason to believe that the criminals behind it are living in Russia. 

“Vice President Biden Raises a Toast in Honor of Chinese President Xi at a State Luncheon at the State Department” (United States government work) by U.S. Department of State.

Use of criminal gangs, a “common tactic” by Russia

Meanwhile, Rebekah Koffler, former Defense Intelligence Agency officer for Russia, said that criminal gangs are one of Russia’s most common tactics. 

Koffler added that they do that to maintain believable deniability, referring to Russia’s use of soldiers in Ukraine and Syria. 

She added that what the Russian president wants to establish is the “balance of power.”

U.S. and Russia have been competing on a global scale for a long time. In areas where the U.S. exceeds Russia’s capabilities, such as the U.S. military, Putin relied on other factors to reinforce Russian dominance, including cyberattacks. 

Koffler added that Putin is trying to give Biden a signal ahead of the summit that he is in a much stronger position. 

In addition to this, the former intelligence officer also emphasized that although Biden’s rhetoric towards Putin was powerful, his actions have been weak. 

Last month, Biden lifted sanctions made by the former Trump administration. This includes the sanctions that target the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which moves natural gas from Russia to Europe. Some believe that this move sent the wrong message to some European allies.

Experts also believe that one of the biggest challenges the administration faces in the upcoming summit is Putin’s disinterest in working U.S.-Russia relations. Hoffman said that this is not what Putin seems to want.

Read more: DOJ To Elevate Ransomware Attacks to the Same Level As Terrorism