Krebs: US should be 'cautious' about escalating cyber war with Russia

Former Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) chief Christopher Krebs in an interview on Sunday poured cold water on lawmakers' calls for retaliation in response to a cyber intrusion at numerous government agencies believed to be carried out by Russia.

Speaking with CNN's Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperEx-Trump press secretary criticized for stirring up QAnon on Twitter Maryland GOP governor says he would have voted to convict Trump Democratic senator defends decision not to call witnesses: 'They weren't going to get more Republican votes' MORE on "State of the Union," Krebs said that lawmakers such as Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyTrump at CPAC foments 2022 GOP primary wars Democrats scramble to rescue minimum wage hike Media circles wagons for conspiracy theorist Neera Tanden MORE (R-Utah,) who called for "a cyber response of like magnitude or greater" earlier on the program, should be "cautious." 

“I’d be very careful with escalating this," Krebs responded.

"We need a conversation among like-minded countries" about what are acceptable forms of cyber espionage, the former U.S. cybersecurity chief added.

Krebs was also asked during the interview about tweets on Saturday from President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to hold virtual bilateral meeting with Mexican president More than 300 charged in connection to Capitol riot Trump Jr.: There are 'plenty' of GOP incumbents who should be challenged MORE, who contradicted top U.S. officials and suggested China's involvement in both the cyberattack as well as unfounded allegations of intrusions into U.S. voting systems.

“It’s Russia," Krebs responded on Sunday, before adding of Russia's intelligence service, the SVR: "They are exceptionally good at it.”

The hack was possible, he added, because outdated systems are still being used across government agencies that have not upgraded their capabilities in years and were not "optimized" to be defended easily.

Krebs was fired last month by the president after the former CISA leader declared that the 2020 election had been free of foreign influence and the most secure in U.S. history, contradicting the president's own evidence-free claims of widespread voter fraud and corruption.

The president has remained largely focused on his so far unsuccessful efforts to overturn his election defeat, and has only commented a handful of times on other issues in recent days.