The US government has been working to strengthen its cyber defences as hacking and other online crimes targeting the nation have steadily increased. On Thursday, the White House unveiled a new cybersecurity plan.
The plan, which is meant to serve as a roadmap for future policy, calls for more stringent regulation of current cybersecurity practices across industries and enhanced cooperation between the public and private sectors.
It happens in the midst of a military conflict between Russia and Ukraine, in which cyberwarfare has played a significant role, and after a number of high-profile hacking incidents by domestic and foreign players against the United States.
On a conference call with journalists, a US official who wished to remain unnamed said that the new plan included a goal of containing Russian hackers.
The official stated that "Russia is acting as a de facto safe haven for cybercrime, and ransomware is a predominant problem that we are currently dealing with."
One of the most frequent types of cyber-attacks is ransomware, which involves cybercriminal gangs seizing control of a target's systems and demanding ransom payments. In recent years, ransomware attacks have had an effect on a variety of industries.
The official continued, "The criminal justice system won't be able to address this issue on its own - we need to look at other elements of national power." We therefore expect that Russia will continue to exercise restraint because it is aware of the effects of malicious activity in cyberspace.
Building alliances with foreign allies is part of the strategy, according to a second US official on the call who also refused to be identified. "To put pressure on Russia and other malicious players to change their behaviour," they said.
The official continued, I believe we've had some success keeping those alliances together over the last year.