A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said the Kremlin is concerned over a report from The New York Times that said the US is preparing a series of cyberattacks on Russia.
The Times report cited anonymous officials who said a “series of clandestine actions across Russian networks” are expected to start within the next three weeks. The officials said the cyberattacks could come along with new economic sanctions on Russia.
“This is alarming information,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday. “This would be pure international cybercrime.”
The planned cyberattacks are being framed as retaliation for the hack of the software firm SolarWinds that affected several US agencies. But no evidence has been provided that showed Russia was responsible for the SolarWinds incident, and Moscow denies the accusation.
“The Russian state has never had anything to do with cybercrimes and cyberterrorism it is being accused of,” Peskov said.
After the SolarWinds hack was first reported, members of Congress and Western media outlets immediately blamed Russia. In January, several US intelligence agencies released a statement that said Russia was “likely” responsible, but no evidence was presented to back up the claim.
A cybersecurity expert who previously advised SolarWinds said “any attacker” could have pulled off the hack due to a vulnerability in the company’s update server. SolarWinds’ CEO told a congressional hearing last month that the update server’s password, which was “solarwinds123,” was publicly available on the internet between sometime in 2017 and November 2019.