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A Biden official says the White House’s response to the SolarWinds attack may come within weeks

Summary List PlacementThe White House may respond to the SolarWinds hacks within weeks, a senior administration official said on CNN.  Jake Sullivan, national security advisor, told CNN's Christiane Amanpour that President Joe Biden's administration may respond "weeks from now." Sullivan said it would consider new sanctions, as one of a...

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The White House may respond to the SolarWinds hacks within weeks, a senior administration official said on CNN

Jake Sullivan, national security advisor, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that President Joe Biden’s administration may respond “weeks from now.” Sullivan said it would consider new sanctions, as one of a “broad range of responses.” 

SolarWinds, an IT firm providing software to the US government, was the target of a massive cybersecurity attack discovered late last year. The breach, which included systems at the US Treasury Dept. and Homeland Security, had gone undetected for months. 

In January, a joint US intelligence task force issued a statement saying the hack was “likely Russian in nature.”

“We believe we can go further than that,” Sullivan said on Friday.

He added: “We are in the process of working through, with the intelligence community, and his national security team, a series of steps to respond to SolarWinds, including steps that will hold who we believe is responsible for this accountable, and you will be hearing about this in short order.”

On Wednesday, Anne Neuberger, deputy national security advisor for cyber and emerging technology, said the US intelligence community is still “looking at who is responsible,” but that it was likely of Russian origin. 

She said at least nine federal agencies and 100 private companies were compromised. She added that the response might be “several months” away, a longer timeline than Sullivan gave. 

“The hackers launched the hack from inside the United States, which further made it difficult for the US government to observe their activity. Even within federal networks, a culture and authorities inhibit visibility, which is something we need to address,” said Neuberger in the White House Briefing Room.  

The government’s response so far has focused on removing the hackers, improving cybersecurity, and considering how to respond, she said. 

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