The relentless surge of Chinese cyberattacks continues unabated, with the U.S State Department being the latest in line to succumb to the ‘invisible’ invasion. A worrisome development, yet seemingly reduced to a mere blip on the radar of our esteemed leader. Ice cream scoops in hand, President Biden appears to be far too consumed by his personal seaside siesta and the business of berating diligent journalists to notice this techno onslaught. The ‘Siesta Presidency,’ it seems, has decided that enjoying frosty treats while vacationing supersedes securing the nation from threats lurking in the shadows of cyberspace.
While President Biden indulges in his well-documented affinity for frosty treats and seems to be on a mission to redefine the scope of presidential ire towards the Fourth Estate, we learn about a covert cyberattack on the State Department, traced back to a China-linked hacker group called Storm-0558.
The extent of the damage? An undisclosed number of government email accounts, infiltrated and potentially ransacked of sensitive information. Yes, that’s right. While our leader was too busy vacationing, a ‘surgical campaign’ was being waged against us.
There are significant repercussions to such cyberattacks. It’s not just about lost or compromised data. The aftermath involves a painstaking and costly process of securing breached systems, investigating the attack, and implementing measures to prevent future assaults. But does any of this matter to our vacationing Commander-in-Chief? One can only speculate.
Agency spokesperson Matthew Miller attempted to assuage public concerns by stating that immediate steps were taken to secure the systems and notify Microsoft of the event. It seems rather fitting that the details of the response are kept under wraps – one wouldn’t want to ruin the taste of the President’s ice cream with the bitter aftertaste of a national security breach.
According to Microsoft, the attackers accessed around 25 organizations’ email accounts using forged authentication tokens. The attacker’s aim? To gather intelligence and ‘achieve espionage objectives’. All this while our President’s most pressing concern seemed to be which flavor of gelato to choose next.
Biden’s priority list, it appears, has room for defending the dignity of frozen desserts but lacks the crucial aspect of standing up to China’s cyber incursions. The storm is here, folks. And it’s not the kind that you can ward off with an umbrella.
The rise in cyberattacks on government agencies and networks has been particularly noticeable in recent months. Another recent incident saw cybercriminals exploiting a vulnerability in the MOVEit file transfer service to steal data from several federal civilian agencies. While this did not pose a ‘systemic risk’ to national security, one wonders what amount of risk is acceptable to this administration.
Calls for a dedicated director to lead the Office of the National Cyber Director have been louder than ever since Chris Inglis’ retirement. Yet, the position remains vacant, with no sign of Biden being inclined to make a nomination. A group of cybersecurity organizations has penned a letter demanding that a replacement be nominated before the month ends. Our adversaries, however, won’t be so patient.
In light of these escalating threats, we should be tightening our cybersecurity measures, bolstering our digital defenses, and sending a clear signal to cybercriminals that we won’t be an easy target. Yet, it seems that the current administration is more interested in scoring points on the social justice scoreboard and appeasing the Twitterati with entertaining photographs of the President devouring his favorite dessert.
While the administration maintains that it’s doing everything it can, the Chinese threat persists. And as we’ve recently learned, these aren’t just empty threats. They’re real, they’re happening, and they’re affecting our nation’s most sensitive sectors.
Sure, cybersecurity isn’t a simple problem with easy solutions. It requires extensive planning, vigilant monitoring, and rapid response capabilities. But should these necessities be overlooked because they’re challenging? Should the issue be swept under the rug because it’s difficult to understand or explain?
It’s high time that our President put his ice cream scoop down and picked up the national security briefings instead. It’s time that he directed his ire towards our adversaries instead of the journalists seeking answers. It’s time that he rolled up his sleeves and got to work, addressing the significant issues facing our nation. Because if he doesn’t, the Chinese hackers won’t be waiting for him to finish his vacation.
So here we stand, battered by the chilling winds of the cyber storm while our leader delights in his chilled treats. The hackers are knocking at our digital doors, and we’re left wondering if President Biden can hear them over the crunch of his waffle cone. Is the Commander-in-Chief too engrossed in his frosty pastimes to grasp the gravity of the situation? It seems that while he relishes his vacation, the nation’s cybersecurity takes a vacation too. And in these tumultuous times, one can’t help but ponder: does the Siesta Presidency carry a greater price tag than we ever imagined?