Dmitri Alperovitch joins "60 Minutes" to discuss possible Russian cyberattacks
Silverado Policy Accelerator's Co-Founder and Executive Chairman Dmitri Alperovitch joined CBS's 60 Minutes on Sunday, April 17 to discuss the possibility of Russian cyberattacks against the U.S. stemming from the war in Ukraine. Dmitri discussed Russia's use of cyber operations during the invasion of Ukraine, how the Kremlin could use cyber operations to pressure the U.S. and Europe to roll back sanctions, and how the U.S. and its allies could respond to a potential attack.
Watch the full segment here. A transcript of Dmitri's exchange with 60 Minutes' Bill Whitaker is available below.
Dmitri Alperovitch: This was the first time that we have taken that action against something that the Russian military has done preemptively, before they launched the attack. We took it down.
Dmitiri Alperovitch is well acquainted with Putin's tactics. As co-founder of the heavyweight cybersecurity company Crowdstrike, he helped trace the 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee back to the GRU in Moscow. He currently is a member of the Homeland Security Advisory council. The Moscow-born Alperovitch has a theory why Putin hasn't launched a full scale cyberattack on the U.S. yet.
Dmitri Alperovitch: He thinks that a victory that he can pull out is still achievable and that as he can make a deal with Europeans at least and possibly the Americans to take the sanctions off. I think he's mistaken on that. But I think at least until he tries that, he's unlikely to launch the cyberattacks.
Bill Whitaker: So why do you think President Biden has said a cyberattack from Russia is coming.
Dmitri Alperovitch: Well, I think the reality is that those sanctions will not come off, that the economic pressure on Russia will continue, and they are gonna start retaliating for that in cyberspace once it hits them that this is permanent, that this is not going away. And they're gonna try to look for ways to press us economically in retaliation. And cyber is a perfect way for them to do so.
Perfect because cyber is a battlefield where Russians have an advantage: a target-rich environment in the United States.
Dmitri Alperovitch: The reality is that we have way too many targets. If you look particularly in our energy sector, you have regional utilities. You have minor energy processing companies, storage companies, pipeline companies. And make no mistake, Bill. The cyber actors that they have are top notch. And they've demonstrated that time and time again.
Bill Whitaker: We have said in the past that if you do this to us, we will respond in kind. Would we?
Dmitri Alperovitch: We have to let him know that you will not touch our critical infrastructure without a response. And the way to do that, I think, is through a cyber operation that can demonstrate our capabilities without lasting damage. One of the ways you can do that, for example, is by taking Russia off the internet for a few hours. It won't cause any lasting impact, but it will demonstrate the power of the United States Cyber Command, what we can do to his economy by disconnecting him, effectively, from the internet.
Bill Whitaker: We can do that?
Dmitri Alperovitch: We can absolutely do that. And we'll let him know that if he keeps going, if he keeps attacking us, we can make that permanent.