Biden warns cyber attacks on US could lead to ‘a real shooting war’

WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden on Tuesday warned that a significant cyber attack on the United States could lead to "a real shooting war" with a major power, comments that highlight what Washington sees as growing threats posed by Russia and China.

Cyber security has risen to the top of the agenda for the Biden administration after a series of high-profile attacks on entities such as network management company SolarWinds, the Colonial Pipeline company, meat processing company JBS and software company Kaseya.

Some of the attacks affected fuel and food supplies in parts of the US.

"I think it is more than likely we are going to end up, if we end up in a war - a real shooting war with a major power - it is going to be as a consequence of a cyberbreach of great consequence and it is increasing exponentially, the capabilities," Mr Biden said during a speech while visiting the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Mr Biden also highlighted the threats posed by China, referring to President Xi Jinping as "deadly earnest about becoming the most powerful military force in the world, as well as the largest and most prominent economy in the world by the mid-40s, the 2040s".

Mr Biden's comments offered a clear departure from remarks made by his predecessor Donald Trump, who had a contentious relationship with intelligence agencies over issues such as its assessment that Russia had interfered to help Mr Trump win the 2016 election and its role in revealing that he had pressured Ukraine to investigate Mr Biden. - REUTERS