Kremlin accuses US of state-level 'banditry', denies cyber attack plans
MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Kremlin on Tuesday rejected US warnings that it may be preparing to conduct cyber attacks in response to Western sanctions, and said it did not engage in "banditry".
US President Joe Biden on Monday told businesses to do more to protect themselves against possible cyber attacks by Russia, warning there was "evolving intelligence" that Moscow was exploring options on that front.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters: "The Russian Federation, unlike many Western countries, including the United States, does not engage in state-level banditry."
Russia has previously rejected similar allegations, including accusations that it was responsible for hacks on Ukrainian banking and government websites in February.
Senior White House cybersecurity official Anne Neuberger on Monday said important US companies that provide critical infrastructure should improve their cyber defenses, but that there was "no certainty" such an attack would occur.
Russian Deputy Industry and Trade Minister Vasiliy Shpak suggested Russia create a division of cyber troops to combat increased threats, in which developers could hone their skills and demonstrate their patriotism.
"After this, I hope, they will think 10 times before leaving their motherland in pursuit of easy money in foreign companies," the RIA news agency quoted Shpak as saying on Tuesday.
The cybersecurity arm of the telecoms firm Rostelecom has said efforts to disrupt the operations of company websites have intensified this month.
Rostelecom CEO Mikhail Oseevskiy said attacks on Russian websites were continuing and becoming more varied.
"We understand what the risks are and how they can be mitigated," Interfax quoted him as saying.