tv Sen. Mark Warner on Russian Cyber Capabilities CSPAN March 14, 2022 11:01am-12:03pm EDT
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coverage of a discussion with senator mark warner on potential russian cyber attacks directed at ukraine. this is live coverage on c-span2. >> greg, who i'll introduce. i'm not sure mike warner needs if an introduction because for a long time now people have thought he is the most tech-savvy senator many washington. in washington. and you can say perhaps that's a low bar, but in his case that's not true. he's been a leader in the cybersecurity efforts, and so we're very pleased and fortunate to get his take on the events in the ukraine, the implications for cybersecurity in the u.s. senator, the floor is yours. >> jim, thank you, and thank all my friends at csis for having this por rum. forum. i think we all have been mesmerized not only as americans, but as, frankly, just
citizens of the world to see a conflict as it rolls out daily on our screens in ukraine. i remember i think the it was three weeks ago i was in munich meeting with ukrainians, foreign ministers, intel service leaders. this was a few days before putin launched his unprovoked aggression against ukraine. and on at that moment in -- and even at that moment in time while our colleagues saw the intelligence, knew we were on the precipice, i think the vast majority of them still didn't believe that putin would literally pull the trigger. he did, obviously. and, again, i think the world has been really taken by the courage of the ukrainian people, taken up by the courage and resoluteness of president
zelenskyy. i remember prior to the invasion a number of us were talking on the senate intelligence committee, you know, was zelenskyy going to be a ghaani the way the afghan leader who cut and run once the taliban got close, or was he going to be a churchill. at least in my mind, he is kind of a churchill on steroids not only in terms of the incredible use of social media showing him in kyiv and in his presidential palace visiting, i saw this morning, his wounded soldiers, but also even using churchillian language when he spoke to the english parliament. i'm glad the u.s. congress has formally invited him as well, and i think he'll make an enormously important presentation on wednesday to the u.s. congress. a couple quick points i want to make before we get to the
conversation. first, the american intelligence community. i know over the years they've not always been right. we can all point to critiques, but on this one, boy, oh, boy, did they ever just nail it. starting last fall as putin started to bring up his forces, they have been able to monitor and relay are to us policymakers in america but also to our nato allies what putin was going to do, how he was going to do it. and candidly, i think, by being willing to lean in, i mean, this is way beyond their traditional comfort zone of relaying intel almost realtime both to allies and to the public, i think they've done, they've been very effective in who ways. one, i remember back about a month ago when there was some evidence that russia would stage, have a coup stage, put in
a new leader. american intelligence said, hey, watch this, if it comes, it'll be the russians. then the british intelligence we work hand in glove with, here's the guy the russians are going to put in. i think it was a brilliant use of forward-leaning intelligence. there was an effort that the russians were going to put out a series of videos. again, the american intelligence laid out what those videos would look like, even pointing out where the russian cadavers would be that would be used as the bodies, again, throwing putin off guard. and by relaying this information, again almost in realtime, to our allies, it built the case so that when putin did attack almost to the day that intelligence predicted, we've seen, again, an unprecedented unity. if you'd asked me a few weeks back -- jim, i mow you and i have talked about this in the past, we've seen the germans
take the lead on nord stream 2, change their approach on defense spending, unity with nato, sweden and finland agreeing to send arms, the sanctioning of putin individually, the central bank, the europeans taking the lead on taking russia out of swift and even the swift -- i mean, it's the almost become a bit of an applause line, but we know that when swiss get off the fence and side with the alliance, that we have done a good job. and, again, kudos to the intelligence community. in terms of the conflict and touch on cyber and then go to the conversation, while clearly the russian military traditional forces, i think we're all scratching our head at their disarray, their ineptness, the pact that about half of the ukrainian air defense systems are sill operational -- still operational.
i think i saw in reporting today that the ukrainian forces have about 54 airplanes left, really remarkable and also, again, showing that the russians -- there was not much shock and awe in their shock and awe area. the area that has surprised me thousand and -- though and i don't think we should take, believe that it's lack of capability, while there may be lack of capability in terms of traditional military efforts in the cyber domain, we know the russians are first rate. the cyber attacks so far that have taken place, the so-called wiper ware that has been malware that literally has stayed within individual networks has been relatively mild. i know i've had both in the -- we had last week with the american intelligence community in a public setting and even in private settings i've questioned oured leaders, why haven't we seen the real a-team? why aren't -- haven't we seen
out of the gru some of the entities that we know have the capacity to, frankly, shut down entire systems, shut down the internet? the fact that we're still seeing these videos coming out of ukraine surprises the heck out of me, you know? the fact that they've not launched a tape of -- type of attack with soft is ware that includes worms that a go from one network to another, we don't have an answer. the conventional wisdom is maybe at first we thought that, you know, the russians assumed they would win so quickly or, second, they didn't want to use the really malicious malware because if it really destroyed some of the ukrainian infrastructure, it would take much longer and be much more costly to restand up. but now that we're seeing, you know, day 17, 16 on the war and rush is shah potentially even talking about -- russia potentially even talking about chemical weapons or other more egregious forms ofen -- of
conflict, i still am relatively amazed that they have not really launched the level of a maliciousness that their cyber arsenal includes. now, will we see that in the coming days? if i think that remains a possibility. are they holding back for potential use against the west and/or america? again, we'll see. the two comments that i, finally, at the end want to make is i was very concerned in the early days that russia might launch such expansive cyber ware attack or cyber attack that it might lead beyond the geographic borders of ukraine and bleed into eastern poland where, you know, shut down polish hospitals and poles die, is that an article v, or if you had american troops, you know, getting in a traffic accident because the lights have gone off, could that be an article v. so far we've not seen that effort of bleeding into other geographic areas.
i hope that will remain the same, and at the same time i think we in the united states need to keep our shields up. we know we can't be 100% effective many our defense. we have to have resilience. and i will make one comment as chris mentioned before we went online, one of the pieces of legislation that was included in the major budget bill that was passed last week was finally, finally, finally we have mandatory cyber reporting that will become, i believe, has become law now because i think the president has signed the bill. and, again, that will require mandatory reporting to sis saw. you are the victim of a cyber attack, we'll give that company immunity. we don't want to hold the company accountable. we do want to be able to go after malware actors. i think this is a giant step both in terms of the challenges
vis-a-vis ukraine, but on a broader basis to make sure the current level where we only have about 30% of cyber attacks being reported, this will give us a much greater tool to have that reporting. and, again, mostly so we can share it with our other private sector partners. so a big win in the budget bill for those of us concerned about the cyber domain. so with that, i'll turn it back over to you. i know i had a lot of comments very quickly, but i do want to make sure we have time for plenty of questions. jim, i think you are on mute. >> it wouldn't be a zoom conference if somebody didn't make that mistake. so i apologize. demonstrating once again why you're such a leader in this field. let me start with a couple questions. you've mentioned something called forward-leaning intelligence, and i thought that was really interesting. we're watching a shift from the
focus of the last couple of decades to great power conflict. what are the lessons from what you saw in the leadup and during the ukraine crisis for budget, for intel strategy, for the organization? so is what are the broader implications for intelligence isesome -- intelligence? >> well, i think, and one of the things i would also add, and i think this is a little bit on purpose, but one of the things that we attached to the so-called omnibus, the big piece of budgetary legislation are, was we included our intel authorization bill which because of the craziness of the sausage making was not able to be attached to our defense bill, but it is also becoming law. in that bill there is, again, added resources and increased shift to both beefing up nsa and the cyber command, there were efforts in trying to up our
cyber capabilities across the whole intelligence community. and for so long, understandably, the intel community -- because their crown jewel is guard sources and methods. and under that guise, they have been traditionally very unwilling to share intelligence outside of a very small group of policymakers. i've got my theories, i don't have the answer of who is the, who is the impetus of actually having this information shared in such a different manner vis-a-vis ukraine, although i do want to give a great shout-out to general knack sony if at nsa because a lot of this did come from signals intelligence, and he actually earned that intelligence. so his willingness to have that shared. i think it is really shown in a
information-driven world if we can share intelligence with the public and with our allies on a more realtime basis, it puts us back in the game if in terms of information warfare. if i think over the last number of years, frankly, russia has been a much better, has been much better at using information warfare or marley disinformation. -- marley disinformation. we all saw the russian involvement in 2016 in our elections. we continue to see russia use social media in a much, much more aggressive way. the fact that we were able to get this information out into the bloodstream, you know, demonstrating and taking away any ability for putin to claim that a there was any ukrainian provocation that started this war with, it really has left putin exposed as being the absolute culprit in starting this war. there's no credible claim otherwise. so that, i think, is important.
and also the willingness to share with our allies. we share a lot of times with our 5i allies, but this one the information sharing with the balance of nato and in some cases even beyond nato, it's not by chance that we ended up, i believe, with 142 votes in the u.n. general assembly a week ago. a lot of that was because the american intelligence we were sharing with a lot of folks. i hope this will be a precursor to a much more ongoing, active intelligence network and, candidly again, the power of information sharing ought to be a stronger part of our military, diplomatic and overall state a -- state craft. >> thank you. i think that's really a neat point, that intel sharing is something that lets us get an advantage in information conflicts. i'm going do for a crystal ball
moment. i almost saved this for last. you can dodge it if you want, but some of us have been following the kip act for however -- chip act for however long it's been in play. is it a decade now? if i don't know. that's not fair. but has this changed the dynamics on the hill vis-a-vis the sense that we are mow in a much more immediate -- now in a much more immediate conflict with russia and i would say with china? how has it changed the dynamic? >> well, jim, again, a great question. and not to get too grandiose here, but, you know, the last three or four years it's been tough in this country. it's been tough in the west. you know, we went through some of the challenges of the previous president, we had the january 6th, we've seen social media break us into tribal efforts, we've all had to live through covid. and i think at moments, and we see this reflected in our -- obviously, where i work is sometimes dysfunctional, there's been this real question can
liberal democracy literally succeed in the 21st century, or are hose author seine -- are these authoritarian states, and i look at china as being, you know, the kind of, a economic power beyond a military power. russia's a military power, but not much -- the chinese model's been very successful. what i think we're seeing play out in ukraine is ukrainian people are literally voting with their lives to try to obtain kind of freedom, democracy, freedom of press, things that we all take for granted. they are paying with their lives to try to have that system. so with all of our problems, i think we need to acknowledge we have the best system in the world. and we need to prove that they ought to reflect a moment on that and maybe a little less z political warfare would be ad good sign. in terms of how we stand though
on the competition standpoint, and you mentionedded the chips bill, this is so long overdue. i know that in america we have been appropriately reluctant to do anything that appears to be industrial policy. we are seeing the semiconductor shortage in this country right now play into inflationary tactics in terms of inflation in terms of automobiles, the fastest growing component of inflation in our country. we've also seen if we can show off the flow of semiconductors to russia, their ability to maintain their own military industrial base that dramatically is undermined. so this chips legislation which i was proud to be the original sponsor of, $52 billion -- and, by the way, it's not just semiconductors, it's also into 5g and open radio network. you may recall as we focused a few years back on huawei, this is kind of how we move beyond
huawei mt. 5g area. we need to get our act together and get that bill to the president's desk because that will also -- that's national security, that's jobs, that's american innovation and leadership, all things that i think, frankly, the world is calling out for at in this moment in time. and if we can take the reed, for example, on this -- the lead, for example, on this semiconductor space, i think we'll need to make similar investments in artificial intelligence, quantum computing and the others. and ill argue from the macro point what we need to have happen now in the 2020s and beyond is start to build technology alliances. if you look back post-world war ii it was military alliances, common market in the '60s, economic alliances. i think in the 2020s and beyond we need a coalition of the willing amongst democrats -- democracies around technology alliances. part of that manifestation is around investments like chips, part of it would also be having
america and the west writ large really engaged and involved in the standards and protocol-setting of all of this new technology development. this is another area where i think, unfortunately, we had a massive lead for years, and we've let that slip a little bit. so chips is a starting point for a level of innovation and technology alliances that will go way beyond just the semiconductor industry. >> thank you. yeah. it'd be nice to see the chips act actually land. so we have you here, i don't know if you remember, two years to talk about it. and and at that point i assumed it was in grasp. everyone of makes mistakes. >> just one hinge. listen, this is a case, again, where people rightfully who don't follow the sausage making of washington all the time have have got a right to, like, rightfully complain, you know? the bill passed the house, the bill passed the senate, it's time for us to stop the squabbling, get it done, get it
to the president, make those investments. because as you know, if we don't have this kind of tool, there will not be another semiconductor fabrication facility, plaintiffing plant made in -- manufacturing plant made in america. even though we've seen samsung in texas, a lot of those investments are frankly, again, you read the fine print, they're contingent on america making this investment that's coming from the chips act. >> well, that will lead us into the final question then which, again, putting on your budget hat for a minute, are we spending in the right placesesome are we spending enough on cybersecurity and technology? where would you want to see us move, say, over the next three years many terms of budgets for these activities? >> well, first of all, i think if you look at us on any kind of historical basis, our investment in basic r&d and innovation is dramatically smaller as a
percentage of our gdp than it was, you know, 40, 50 years ago. i do think that when we take huawei and 5g or the shortage on chips, you know,st it's kind of our generation's sputnik moment. so i absolutely believe we need additional investments in basic r&d. on the cyber domain, i think we are ramping up on the federal spend side. i do think there's much more we can codo especially amongst smaller governmental entities. some of the funding ought to be coming on the public side at the state and local government. the number of k-12 school districts that had been cyber attacked, i think most people would freak out if they actually knew that number. it may not just be government spending. we need the private sector to invest dramatically, and we need to acknowledge, you know, i need
to be straight with the voters, and business leaders need to be straight with their customers. we probably cannot be 100% effective on keeping the bad guys out, but we should, we shouldn't aim for 100% perfection on defense, but what we should aim for is this information sharing so we can share with the private sector when we see a cyber attack so we can warn others. and where we really need to invest as well are is resilience, how we bring our systems back up to speed as quickly as possible, and i do think we're making progress there. final comment on this and i've made this comment before and it's a little bit, you know, uncomfortable in a state like mine virginia, where we have per capita military spending about as high as any if state in the nation, i do worry at times that we are investing way too much in this traditional legacy platforms when thank god so far we've not seen the more
malicious cyber tools that russia has brought to bear. you talk about things that can keep you up at night, if you look at this vis-a-vis china, some of our overhead competition. you know, i think there are a bunch of areas, hypersonic, there's a host of areas where traditional tanks and is ships may not be as effective when we're thinking the real domains of the future, maybe cyber, overhead and, frankly, other tools that we can't even get into in this kind of conversation today. so i would shift a lot of our defense spending much more into future domains rather than simply some of the traditional domains. >> well, senator, thank you. this covered so much ground; intel, defense spending, cybersecurity. great points on all of them. we really appreciate your taking the time, and i don't know if we'll have any follow up, but thank you for what you're doing. i like the point about
conventional spending. we're really good at building the weapons of the 20th century. maybe that needs to change. but, again, thank you. >> thank you, jim. >> okay. that was great. you never know what you're going to get because he is such a broad-ranging intellect. so we covered most of my questions, but we're mow going to go to a panel. you can ask questions following this discussion. the panel is easy for me because it's too old friends, both of whom are true experts in the field. chris boehner, at this point is there anyone if left on everett who doesn't know who chris boehner is? if you don't, he was, of course, the first cyber door nateer at state, before that at the nic and before that, of course, at
the cyber crime unit at doj. going back in law enforcement all the way to being a prosecutor in los angeles. so extensive career. greg ratrie, we owe greg a vote of thanks because i believe he is the person who coined the term pt back when he started to doing this in the bush administration probably 20 years ago. greg, of course, had been doing it well before then as an air force officer, but he is, of course, one of the leading strategists along with chris for how we a approach cyber activities. i thought what we'd do is i'd have have each of them make brief opening remarks on ukraine, the implications for american cybersecurity, then go to a little bit of back and forth. i invite people to send questions in they wish to. -- if they wish to. but with that, why don't we turn it over to chris and greg. chris, do you want to go first? >> sure. well, thank you, jim, it's great to be with you here today and
greg and senator warner as well who, as you said, is a real leader. and i did congratulate him on getting the bill through which i remember working at when i was at doj literally 20 years ago. so it finally is there, and i think that's a big improvement. look, you know, i think there's several things that the ukraine crisis has illustrated. one, i think everyone's been somewhat surprised that we haven't seen a larger use of cyber in that that conflict. we did see it before it began. we saw attacks on ukrainian government web sites. senator warner said wiper software, other things were launched. but i think many people predicted a massive sort of cyber attack in ukraine that would have gone after command and control, gone after communications, and that really hasn't happened. we also haven't seen the blowback against western democracies including the u.s. so far, and i think the critical part of that is so far.
we're still in the relatively early dayses even though it's been with several weeks now. it could well be that russia is holding those in reserve, those capabilities in reserve, and hasn't used them yet. they maybe -- one of the things in this illustrates is this actual physical invasion, you don't need cyber as much when you have tanks and planes on the ground and men on the ground. so maybe cyber isn't, to paraphrase david sanger, maybe it isn't the perfect weapon. maybe it's universities only in -- used only in certain circumstances when you've pre-planned and really thought about it. i think one of the reasons that hasn't got an hot of play, but actually it's happened is ukraine is in a different place than it was five, six years ago when we had the attacks on the power systems, the ukrainian power systems, another russian attack back then because they have spent some time trying to build their infrastructure, trying to build cybersecurity. ukraine is one of the founding
members, one of the early members of the global forum on cyber expertise, the capacity group that i help run. the state department and the u.s. $40 million to ukrainian capacity build anything this area, and since the conflict has broken out has worked with, across both the u.s. government and other governments to provide assistance both for tactical assistance and also larger capacity, and and we've worked with private sector companies. .. with a dedicated adversary like russia and you could be good at defense but there's a way to get in. that's what's been -- we have seen. i do think we will see that but that is being held in reserve. i think shields up is what the
right approach for years. use. the last thing i'll note right now is another interesting thing is, jim, you and i've long said we should be stronger in terms of russian activity. we should do things like have meaningful sanctions not just willy-nilly sanctions but meaningful sanctions. things that would go after six putin's money flow. it shows our toolkit is not that big. that kind of sanctions we were argue for our exact kind that are now finally being used. however, if you're going to use them for this big event, a national innovation are you going to use them for a cyber event? how do we deter or at least affect malicious cyber activity in the future? that's another question. without i'll stop and turn it over to grade. >> those are great points but gray, over to you and we will come back.
-- greg. >> second time. thanks for the opportunity and chris, agree with your remarks and senator warner. maybe what i'll do is just try to apply a bit on a couple of points, mention a couple things that have been less focused on. one thing that my remarks is based on, i did have the opportunity over the last couple of years to work with ukrainians in part in implementation of the a idfa and help them with their cyber strategy in the 20-2021 cyber timeframe, over the year, the preceding year. it's interesting for me now watching how well they have done reacting, and then as everybody has said, how limited in cyber the russian efforts have been so far as well as the limited
impacts. one of the things we haven't talked about yet that hurt a lot in the run up during the crisis before the invasion is with the russians allow the ransomware groups to become more active again? with that we also have not seen in any sort of significant way. what i hear in terms of in the united states and across the globe, ransomware activities continues but at a normal level maybe even a little bit less than normal. in terms of what's happening in ukraine, i think what we know has been reviewed. one thing, by efforts to assist ukraine continued to the day including tried to help on the private sector side, is we are seeing this sort of interesting confluence between infowars and cybersecurity and digital identity path. they ukrainians are having problems in their government of
identities of government officials actually being misused in a disruptive fashion. i don't think, you know, massive but it something that is been highlighted to me through the efforts i've got going on so far. the other thing we have heard so much about is ukrainians have called for international offenses cyber allegiance. this is important to consider. the things i've been involved with are clearly focused on helping the ukrainians do cyber defense but the notion of basically relatively unconstrained call for offense against russian internet systems is a challenging concept in terms of where the boundary is for those things that people are sympathetic to help ukrainians against the russian aggression,, but then start to bleed over from the russian government and
other systems. ukrainians actually called for knocking russian country code off the internet. i think we've got some very interesting questions. the ukrainians as they have been in all things very effective in mobilizing support for these causes. one of the i think the issue we're trying to parse is how why so little russian the fact? part of it could be the fact they ukrainians and others may be helping suppress some of the russian offensive capabilities. i am sympathetic to the notion that senator warner and chris, the russians are very capable. i guess i'll stop with, as will learn from this and and i te really do need to consider this a learning moment, because as we moved to great power conflict we're going to have to support other allies that are under pressure from our major
adversaries, is we don't have a great indications and warning system for russian cyber activity. the fact that we are all sort of working in the dark with a lot of hypotheses about how well the russians have prepared the battlefield either in our ally or in the united states, you know, we know they've done some work. i don't know that we know how dangerous they are and that will be something that would be worth getting a lot better at. senator warner mentioned information sharing. i think these days i often use term operational collaboration. i i completely agree with the ft that effective defense is really going to be a matter of public-private activity. even right now the assistance to the ukrainians as they move through this conflict should be a joint effort not just in the united states but of the west to help them in the private sector and entities in the west have a lot to add today. i'll stop there. >> thank you, greg.
there was a lot of good material in that, topics close to our hearts, but before return to then we have a question from maritime, that that touches on some of think you both race and question is, we expected that use of conventional weapons would occur in line with cyber attacks on critical infrastructure. why did we feel a limited effect in cyberspace so far? we've touched on it but this is really a crucial question. if we -- did we miss estimate cyber weapons, or why is it played out the way it is played out? chris, to undergo first? >> i'll go first, , chris. look, i think one of the things we haven't talked enough about is the crucial nature of preparation in order to launch effective cyber attacks,
particularly around radical infrastructures. so i think it's a very open question. clearly, russian for years has known how to go after critical infrastructure in ukraine. but did the ukrainians start to actually to grade that preparation? have they taken some of that option off the plate from the russians? the other things that have been mentioned a bit, i do think, greg's opinion, the russians thought they would win easily. massive miscalculation, therefore, had reasons not to knock critical infrastructure all because if they put in a circuit regime, would've had to have that infrastructure therefore the new government to operate. as have been mentioned they are recalibrating. that i have this strong belief probably that they are not as deeply embedded and is capable
as, myself included, have thought going into this. at least in ukraine. i think everybody is right, in a west we still need to keep our shields up as this crisis continue. >> i agree with greg. i think there several possible reasons. one, could well be that they were not as well pre-positionedd as we thought they were. repositioning on infrastructure takes a lot of time and never get recently dealt, it's a nifty press the red button and have an effect. it's not to pick you need to have months, years of repositioning and present on the critical infrastructure. it could be also that when you do that you burn that access. said you don't want to get right now because i think they're going to take over ukraine. that infrastructure will be the same infrastructure. that could be part of it as well. and it could well be that this was not a well-planned invasion, that may be the cyber operators didn't even know this is going to happen on the timescale would
happen. seems like this is for a last-minute from the top and the cyber operators may not have been in the clue. another possibility though and i've seen this raise and i kind of agree with his come is look, in russia number of cyber operators is a limited sec and it may well be that they're using it for intel purpose is now. want to see what the intentions are of european, , of u.s. compy and ukrainian leadership rather than destroy them. whatever it is it is somewhat surprising but i don't think we're anywhere near out of the woods yet in terms of its potential use. i don't think as an initiative, i don't think this is a chicken little story, the because cyber has been used, the cyber has been overhyped. i do think it's been overhyped in the sense that it could just be used willy-nilly but i do think this indicates it will be a part of a a physical conflit that may be any more limited role. >> i'm going to cheat.
we are getting in some good questions. the three of us will talk, but i'm going to be the question from the center for european policy analysis because it touches on some of things we've raised. what type of offensive cyber capabilities could the u.s. execute on russia? are there options on the table that of not yet been deployed? if so, why not? i think that's an important question. what are we waiting for? so what are we waiting for? we all, like fresh, we assume with tremendous capabilities. we haven't seen them on the russian side but we have on the americans. what can we do? why are we doing it? >> i guess one question is, i personally don't know what access we have come what infrastructure we may be on but assuming that we pre-position just like we assume the russians
are, that's pretty escalatory for actually the u.s., could be a physical attack if we cause the kind of damage that a think they thought it would work, just kind of fussing with systems, wouldn't do much at the end. were actually having an effect, taking out their command-and-control, it's a major move in our part. it also burns this capabilities as i said earlier to use later on if, for instance, russia starts to escalate against us or other things start to happen. i think that it's likely i don't know but it's likely we have to have the capability and are not easy to come by. the question of when and how do you use them? because they will have an esculatory effect under think they're still trying to control this conflict or least how it is being played out. >> i agree with chris picked the thing i would add probably is, and we won't be able to answer the question i don't think very well, and that is a good thing, about the capability to basically keep suppressing
russian offensive capability a ransomware capability. it is possible we have the capability to degrade offensive operations and that is underway. i would do one way or another whether that is occurring. i think general nakasone did mention in his testimony efforts to keep the ransomware groups suppress suppressed at this time, which makes complete sense, and begin to our comments may be at some operational effect already. but i agree with chris that if we went farther in disrupting russian life or even russian command and military command-and-control or defense systems it could very much be seen as an esculin doorstep. i just want to add that sort of offense of suppression capability i hope is there and it may be in use. >> let me add to my quick things. there was an article about the same actors, russian internet research agency involved a lot
of this information appears we know at least cyber command disrupted than before so that's potential for happening again. the other is we're not going to do things like turn off the lights in moscow. i remember when a story came out saying president biden's looking at options being present options do all these destructive things to russia. the u.s. does play by international law. we're not going have a disproportionate think what we'll go after civilian targets -- targets in russia. i do still think that will happen. >> chris, you and jim and i have been in this discussion for years and years but if we start to break down those norms and go after -- the future conflicts just and even less limitations on the willingness of actors to bring those infrastructures into the game early on in a conflict. again, the ukrainians i understand their call for offenses cyber action but if you're the u.s. and you are
trying to sustain a global cyberspace longer in future you could potentially undermine that by some certain actions. >> i think the other part is pressure points in the u.s. and russia are different. colonial pipeline creates political pressure here. putin could care less if there's a gas shortage or if the power is out in st. petersburg. the cyber techniques that article was talked about will probably not the ones that would be effective but that does raise a question and i think both of you mentioned, conversations going to look different than i expected but when we're talking about expanding the toolkit or respond to things like this, what does an expanded toolkit look like? it's not going to be turning off critical infrastructure, right? and to chris's point, the sanctions are relatively new. let's see what the effect is over a few months but what does
that expanded toolkit look like for a more active cyber posture in cyberspace? greg, do you want to go first? >> sure. one thing that a think we will learn and need to from this, is actually how to help our allies, you know, perform effective defense, be ready, be prepared. again the situation has gone relatively well so far. having been pretty deeply involved in ukrainian efforts to be ready for these cyber piece of this, i think we could've done a lot more. i think also the engagement by the private sector in being up to provide assistance now, we will watch of this plays out as the ukrainians operate under pressure and the communication systems may come under pressure. i actually think resiliency and readiness is a part of our toolkit that we need to put more into as opposed to, you know, on
the side of more often to the actions, the thing that i mentioned about being able to just keep attacks against ukraine in cyberspace or keep ransomware groups under control. that is the capability, it's operationally ready sophisticated to do but i think that is something again that is less escalatory. you want it in the toolkit so you can avoid our adversaries sort of expanding his conflicts and coercing in cyberspace. you want to be able to suppress their ability to conduct cyber attacks so i would put that in our toolkit. >> i've been heartened, crisis sometimes produced proe silver lining and i've been heartened by the collective action that europe, the u.s. and other allies have been able to bring to bear. as senator warner's it is surprising. germany and others have been
more reticent and pass, are becoming out very forcefully i think collectively, the sanctions have been more collective so they have a better chance of success. we just have to do people use those sanctions in cases that are below the silly high threshold. when they got how that is used but that collective action i think is key. the other is how we can leverage some of the private sector capabilities. one of the interesting things is they just decide to do it. we've also seen, there's been calls as you said jim to disconnect from, russia for the internet. i'm not sure that makes sense for russian citizens and others but i think a group of internet experts came together to do more cargo stuff to go after particular russia disinformation and other stuff, maybe black hole some of that traffic and that's a technical community i i think in the morning paper and a private sector has also been doing things that combat disinformation in ukraine. stepping data. the private sector does want to be on the front lines of
nationstate against nationstate generally but if we can find more creative tools that we can use like that kind of black hole and other things, i remember having a debate with the former president of estonia about this exact issue like six years ago and he said unplug them from zwick and everyone said you can't do that. now we have done that. so i think we can think more creatively about both long-term and short-term tools of what the possible repercussions of that are at a think i think we've seen some of that actually. >> swift probably accelerates the efforts of the chinese to create an alternative universe, in some ways speeders that's what i feared the idea of disconnecting, having i can because this exactly the nerdy the russia and china have had for a while topic you are just going to disconnect us. it is a a global, trying to keep it a global systems i don't think disconnecting it really is the editor i think more targeted activity is. >> without a question, speaking
of the present of estonia, , frm the estonian embassy. which is, it's a little off topic from what we've been talking about but i'll drag us back. the eu has put sanctions on cryptocurrencies. what is the u.s. thinking about on crypto spin order to suppress the russians? i will note that he wanted to have csis crypto curtsy for some time now. it was after i read that the burger king franchise in moscow had a whopper or coin. so if they can do it, , we can o it. what should we be doing on this? this is cybersecurity has expanded and include stuff that when we started was a part of it come like intelligence and like cryptocurrencies. what do you think a good crypto policy would be asked greg, g want to go first? >> may be two thoughts on that. in terms of this conflict, i do see the emergence of crypto curtsy provides alternative less
regulated, less sanctionable means for all actors including states to potentially maneuver, avoid punitive action. i think, i seen, certainly the constant discussion is, again having been at j.c. pmc and watching the evolution of government regulation on crypto currency, which have been more hesitant in the u.s. to regulate heavily. it intersects importantly with also disabling criminal groups and cyber crime but now a cyber has become one of the dominant ways that criminal groups and criminal groups associated with states are able to make money to i think we have a major issue about how crypto currencies in particular are allowed to work and whether we take off the table this sort of digital
underground, dark digital underground that enabled by crypto curtsy to iraq to think this is a very serious long-term issue. if we are going to have an impact on sort of the growth of cybercrime, you know. i'm for and i'm not generally for a lot of heavy-handed government regulation but in the crypto area i think i am, for the reasons i just expressed. >> this is another thing that requires a global approach. crypto currency is not going to go away. it is here to stay. so the question is whether you understand it or you like it or not, it's here to stay. there some positive aspects as well. i was one of the cochairs of the ransomware task force and what are the things we looked at the came up just before the colonial pipeline attack which got a lot of attention so one of things on crypto currency was applying, know your customer rules and anti-money laundering rules which you should be doing
anyway, the crypto currency providers and services, and has been a goal dash of global approach. our treasury department has been active going after some of the peripheral crypto curtsy players who are little more shady. but again you need a global approach because it are not all based you. the biden administration had this crypto executive order come out which is it's not clear what it's going to engender but it's going to be studying different ways to deal with these issues. that's good. we cut it ignored the crypto issue for too long and all that bad things that it's led to get i think the major crypto currency operators don't want their services to be used for these nefarious purposes. it doesn't help them in the long term. look back at other digital currencies in the past, more regulated and legal structure. i think that's where we've got to go but we can't just do it alone. we are major players, we have to work with other countries. >> i keep promising i will drag us back to the strategic topic but we're getting such good questions.
here's one from the bahrain cyber police. hundreds of thousands of your trading technology workers have taken part in cyber actions against russia's government, media and financial institutions. okay. i accept that. i think we all do. the question is, or her question, how could something this huge the organize in the midst of war? are the having an effect? and so i think both of them is how you organize this, the russians and the chinese tend to discount spontaneous reaction to their misdeeds. that's part of it but i would be interested in your views. and then we can talk about the fact after you answer that. get back to a discussion of what a good cyber policy would be. how do the organize this? greg, you been working with -- >> yeah, in my efforts have sort of acknowledged like you just did, jim, it's natural for them to call for this and unaware they've had a very large
response, not just ukrainian but even global set of technologists being willing to take actions. my insight would be, it's going to lengthen the affected thing. it's not particularly difficult to call for disruptive action against websites or internet. the technology committee knows how to find presented by those come ticklers russian government and, therefore, try to again due denial of service attacks or hack those assets and the base websites. it doesn't require a lot of commit the control is maybe another way to put it. my sense is it's probably not highly orchestrated in terms of seeking to degrade russian military capabilities against key of the kiev.
this wave of cyber operations is probably meant to be disruptive and sorted just wear down the russian well for continuing this. this. could it become more targeted? certainly it could. don't have a lot of insight into debt so i will leave it at that. >> i agree with great. it's hard to organize that. you see real organized campaign like against a stone in 2011 i think it was more of a state and they are then just patriotic hackers to get together and organize on themselves. i think that's true. i also, you know, there's also the concern that even these patriotic hackers, people trying to help ukraine could be hitting the wrong target. goes to the hack back issues with that in the u.s. i don't know how much of an effect it would have. i think it has an effect when you're exposing russian information at a think that's a some these actors in concert with established companies are doing. i think that's a good thing and
a think that's been effective. >> so maybe a final question then and building off some of those with god and what you said. what's the lesson here for the u.s. in terms of cybersecurity? this hasn't laid out the way i think many have expected to play out, police an initial weeks. i agree with chris that as the russians get bogged down they would be tempted to do something nasty, maybe an ransomware. but what's a lesson we should take away from what we've seen so far when it comes to western cybersecurity, the cybersecurity of america and our partners? i don't know who wants to go first. >> i'll go. i think there's two things. one, as if it were not out of the woods yet. probably the most dependent country on keep your networks and systems here. we don't want to sell dichter abbasid after the 2060 election interference we had dni saying we didn't want to do something
because we were afraid of russia and i think there's a little bit of that still there, that we are afraid of our fold abilities and that's bad. we have to get beyond that. on the positive side i think the collective action that happened with europe and other partners in the u.s. on sanctions and other measures is a really good thing that needs to be built upon, , and that is a really strong international play that we can continue and as positive aspects are cybersecurity. but i don't think this detracts from the nature we face in cyber attack. >> that still there even if it hasn't laid out yet. >> i'll just put two in as well, building on chris's second point. that collective action can be in cyber. it can be on cyber assistance. i think we will be doing that and we're learning lessons everyday right now about how to help the ukrainians as they reconfigured and deal with this to defend their assistance and keep them up, which is got as
you said jim, surprisingly well or it's been a surprise. the other is to try to understand better what the russians intentions and abilities are in cyberspace. as i started my remarks, indications and warning, getting a stronger ability like we haved on their mobilization to invade. i think we don't, we don't yet have the ability to understand what our adversaries might do in a crisis in cyberspace the way we do when conventional military forces, and that needs to be something we focus on. >> great. thank you both. so the lessons i take away from our conversation and conversation with senator warner is we need to support ukraine. we need to think of ways we can support them. maybe more than what we've done now. the other lesson is putin has really painted himself in a corner. i don't think russia can win in the situation. i don't think they will come out
of it better, even if they manage to establish a chechnya like control over ukraine. they can only lose. i hope that's a good lesson for anyone else who might be listening in in the far east, invasion is a bad idea. let me thank senator warner for his very insightful remarks and thank chris and greg for join in this discussion. thanks to everyone. as usual the recording will be online. thank you and see you soon. >> thanks. >> thanks. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> "washington post" columnist david ignatius speaks with david my office president of the world bank group about the global financial impact of russia's war in ukraine. watch live at 2 p.m. eastern on c-span2, online at c-span.org our watch full coverage on c-span now, our free video map.
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