Russia, knock off the cyber attacks or watch out for your oil pipelines.
President Joe Biden's sharp message on cyber attacks was the big takeaway from the summit in Geneva on June 16, 2021. As I wrote for Fox News, for the first time a US president gave Russia an exteremely clear warning to knock off the cyber attacks. Remember the whole domain of cyberspace is veiled and the public rarely sees obvious moves. So you have to read between the lines. Biden warned Putin cyber attacks must stop. US critical infrastructure facilities like energy, power and oil pipelines are off-limits to Russia and hackers in Russia. Putin has a few months to get things under control and abide by international norms. After that, the US may spin up a dialogue on strategic stability. This is a path to potential arms control or what Putin really wants: formal sanctions relief. And if cyber-attacks continue? The US can retaliate in cyberspace or by messing with Russian oil delivery pipelines. Oil is 42% of Russia's exports. Putin and his cronies can't afford disruption.
Solar Winds and the recent attacks on the Colonial Pipeline and JBS Meats were mere probes. What about the list of 16 entities given to Putin by Biden? Wake up. Russia has already analyzed our critical infrastructure. Iran, North Korea, China and others have tried to attack it, too. Spelling out specifics was part of building up cyber deterrence. The other bad actors like China are watching.
Time is not on Putin’s side. With a tiny Russian economy smaller than Canada’s, mischief is about all Putin has left. Putin also has a China problem as Xi Jinping muscles in on arms sales while holding off Chinese investment in Russia. Cyber blackmail will not help.