Dick Durbin, Democratic Senator of Illinois, said that the Russian hack of SolarWinds, maker of the network management tool Orion, was “virtually a declaration of war.”
“We need an honest reset in terms of relationships between the United States and Russia,” he told CNN.
Durbin continued, “We can’t be buddies with Vladimir Putin and have him at the same time making this kind of cyberattack on America. This is virtually a declaration of war by Russia on the United States, and we should take it that seriously.”
Durbin’s comments come after President Trump’s former Homeland Security adviser, Tom Bossert, wrote in an op-ed to The New York Times that how big the hack was is “hard to overstate.”
Bossert also wrote, “the Russians have had access to a considerable number of important and sensitive networks for six to nine months.”
Durbin promised that “there will be a price to pay for this.”
He said, “this is nothing short of a virtual invasion by the Russians into critical accounts of the federal government. When adversaries such as Russia torment us, tempt us, breach the security of our nation, we need to respond in kind.”
Joe Biden also weighed in on the issue. He said in a statement,”our adversaries should know that, as president, I will not stand idly by in the face of cyber assaults on our nation.”
He also said that he would “disrupt and deter” future cyberattacks by “imposing substantial costs on those responsible for such malicious attacks, including in coordination with our allies and partners.”
According to a Reuters report, Russian-backed hackers infiltrated internal email systems at the U.S. Treasury Department and the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration. They had been spying on communications for months.
Government intelligence officials fear the hackers may have gotten into the records of other federal agencies.
A group working for the Russian Foreign Intelligence service is responsible for the breaches, and the FBI is currently investigating the hack.
The group goes by APT29 or Cozy Bear. The group is also responsible for a hack of the White House and State Department during the Obama administration, the report said.
It’s not clear exactly what information was accessed during the more recent hacks. However, they are serious enough that the National Security Council met at the White House to discuss it.
It is believed to be connected to a larger campaign that also included a hack of the major U.S. cybersecurity firm FireEye.
The White House has yet to comment on the breach. However, when asked if Russia was responsible, a U.S official responded, “We believe so. We haven’t said that publicly yet because it isn’t 100 percent confirmed.”