Biden tells US businesses to ‘harden’ defences against Russia cyber threat

Later, Biden told a meeting of US business leaders that Russia has “a very sophisticated cyber capability” and an attack was one of the tactics President Vladimir Putin “is most likely to use.”

Referring to a summit last year in Geneva, where he warned Putin against cyber attacks on US critical infrastructure, Biden said “we had a long conversation about if he uses it, what will be the consequence.”

“But the point is, he has the capability. He hasn’t used it yet,” he added.

US authorities have said that everything from fuel supply routes to water supplies are at risk from cyber attacks, and have identified Russian hackers as one of the main threats.

Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology Anne Neuberger told reporters that despite Biden’s warning, “there is no certainty that there will be a cyber incident on critical infrastructure.”

There has been “preparatory activity” detected, but no sign of a “specific” attack.

And, despite efforts by the government to bolster coordination and assistance in the cyber security sphere, “there’s so much more we need to do to have the confidence that we’ve locked our digital doors,” she said.

In some areas the gaps are “deeply troubling,” she said.

Neuberger reiterated previous White House warnings that if Russia does target critical infrastructure, the US “will be prepared to respond.”