A recently discovered cyberattack, believed to be carried out by a hacking group linked to Russia’s S.V.R intelligence agency, will be at the top of President-elect Joe Biden‘s agenda when he enters the Oval Office, and he’ll have to find a response that is strong enough to impose “high economic, financial, or technological cost on the perpetrator” while also avoiding escalating conflict with Moscow, a person familiar with Biden’s thoughts on the subject, told Reuters.
Biden’s transition team didn’t respond to Reuters’ request for comment, but analysts suggested a few potential paths the new administration could take. “I would think, at the bare minimum, imposing sanctions against the S.V.R would be something that the U.S. government should consider,” said Edward Fishman, an Atlantic Council fellow who worked on Russia Sanctions in the Obama administration’s State Department.
Fishman and James Andrew Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, also suggested sanctions against Russian state companies and the businesses run by Russian oligarchs with links to President Vladimir Putin could send a more hardline message. And Lewis theorized the strongest option could be cutting Russia off from the SWIFT international bank transfer and financial messaging system, which would prevent Russian companies from processing payments to and from foreign customers.