Editorials: Keep ramping up efforts against Russian hackers | Editorials

Russian cyber intrusions have only increased in the months since President Joe Biden imposed sanctions on Russia and issued a warning in person to Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to organizations that track cyber attacks and media reports. These relentless assaults illustrate our vulnerability in an increasingly connected world and provide fresh evidence of the importance of protecting our nation from such dangerous and unacceptable threats.

The cyber attacks have continued despite a successful international effort led by the FBI to force the closure of one of the major Russian ransom operations.

Mr. Biden tried to get Mr. Putin to rein in Russian hackers working privately to extort money from victims in the West and to steal commercial and government secrets. In January, Congress also passed a law requiring that the White House have a national cybersecurity director who reports directly to the president and is subject to Senate confirmation.

On Wednesday, the administration took perhaps its most significant step with a far-reaching order requiring that almost all federal agencies patch hundreds of cyber vulnerabilities considered major risks for damaging attacks on government computer systems.

Those welcome actions are needed because Russia hasn’t been dissuaded from acting against the United States and other countries. China, Iran and North Korea also remain serious cyber threats.

The Biden administration must continue its efforts to require better cybersecurity for the federal government and its contractors and to persuade nonfederal users of the internet to update their own cyber protections. The administration also needs to mount more counterattacks like the FBI’s recent takedown of REvil, the Russia-affiliated cyber gang whose former partners and associates were responsible for the May closure of the Colonial Pipeline, which created gas shortages in the Eastern United States.

And the administration should sharply intensify economic sanctions against Russia, including Russian access to foreign exchange markets, until there is a clear sign that Mr. Putin has brought his intelligence agencies and his country’s criminal gangs under…