The U.S. is working with Ukraine and its partners and allies in Europe to bolster and coordinate their cyber defenses to amid Russian cyber and potential military threats to the Ukraine, a White House official said on Wednesday.
“The Russians have used cyber as a key component of their force projection over the last decade, including previously in Ukraine,” Anne Neuberger, deputy national security advisor for cyber and emerging technology at the National Security Council, said during an online media briefing. “The Russians understand that disabling or destroying critical infrastructure can augment pressure on a country’s government, military, and population, and accelerate their ceding to Russian objectives.”
Neuberger spoke to the media from Brussels, where she is consulting with NATO and her counterparts in Europe on strengthening cyber defenses and resiliency. She will also travel to Warsaw to meet with Polish and Baltic officials, demonstrating the Biden administration’s commitment to NATO’s eastern flank.
“Across all of these engagements, our focus is on ensuring that the U.S. and our allies and partners are prepared for any cyber-related contingency in the current environment, and also discuss how we coordinate and support Ukraine and each other in the event that such incidents occur,” she said.
Ukraine recently suffered a cyber-attack that temporarily shut down government websites and networks. The country was able to quickly restore network and website functions on its own, without U.S. help.
Neuberger said the attack showed what Russia could do, which why she is in Europe as part of U.S. efforts to support Ukraine’s resilience efforts and coordinate allied help to further support Ukraine if it seeks assistance.
The U.S. hasn’t seen evidence of broader Russian cyber incursions into Central Eastern Europe, Neuberger replied to a question from a Hungarian news outlet.
In addition to providing enhance physical support to NATO’s eastern flank, Neuberger said her visit demonstrates the U.S. commitment to the “digital infrastructure and their cyber infrastructure.”