Biden threatens 'cyber' response after Ukraine says computers wiped during attack

US President Joe Biden responded forcefully to reports of a wide-ranging cyberattack on Ukrainian government systems Wednesday afternoon, telling reporters that the US would respond with its own cyberattacks if Russia continues to target Ukraine’s digital infrastructure.  

“The question is if it’s something significantly short of an…invasion or major military forces coming across,” Biden said in response to a question about how the US would respond to a Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

“For example, it’s one thing to determine that if they continue to use cyber efforts, well, we can respond the same way, with cyber.”

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The Daily Beast later asked White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and she confirmed that if Russia continued to launch cyberattacks, they would be answered with a “decisive, reciprocal, and united response.”

Biden’s comments come after Ukrainian officials told journalist Kim Zetter that dozens of systems within at least two government agencies were wiped during a cyberattack last week. Microsoft released a detailed blog about wiping malware, named “WhisperGate,” and said it was first discovered on January 13. 

In a follow-up examination of WhisperGate, security company CrowdStrike said the malware aims “to irrevocably corrupt the infected hosts’ data and attempt to masquerade

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