U.S. 'Has No Strategy' for Cyber War, Garry Kasparov Warns

Legendary chess master Garry Kasparov said the U.S. is "lagging behind" in cyber warfare and lacks a strategy in countering threats.

Kasparov, who is antivirus software company Avast's security ambassador and has written at length on cyber security, told Newsweek that America must be tougher on hostile actors.

Speaking at Web Summit in Lisbon, Kasparov said the U.S. is behind others on cyber warfare "but not for the lack of technology, because in every war, you know what's important is political will, is will behind your army."

"So you can have the strongest army in the world, but where the commander could be not even a coward, but, you know, indecisive, and that may decide the outcome of the battle. Now, what we're saying is that America has no strategy," Kasparov said.

"It [the U.S.] still has tremendous capability, it is still by far the leading force on online. But there's no strategy."

He suggested that "dictators don't care about consequences unless they see the immediate threat to them. They never ask why, they ask why not."

Kasparov said that the Biden Administration is "extremely weak," but also noted that previous administrations also did not do enough on cyber warfare, adding "it seems that America lost its...appetite to lead the world. America has to come up with a plan to punish hostile actors."

He said there are "so many ways of going after hostile actors," including "attacking their infrastructure and their countries, paralyzing it" and gathering "valuable data" about them because they often keep their money in Western countries.

"So if there is a political will, the free world is well equipped now to do damage [to] the hostile actors. Again, if there is a policy and a determination," Kasparov said.

Earlier this year, Microsoft warned of hundreds of cyberattacks against U.S. companies, and there has been a range of major attacks thought to have come from foreign actors in recent years.

A report from the company outlined most state-sponsored hacks came from Russia. There have been recent hacks linked to groups with Chinese government ties. Last month, the U.S. launched a new bureau to combat cybercrime.

In 2020, SolarWinds software was hacked. The software company provides services to the White House, Pentagon and NASA. This breach is believed to have been from Russia. However, Russia denies being behind such cyber offensives.

In July, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the U.S. "will respond" to further such acts.

"If Russia continues to attack us, or to act as it did with the SolarWinds attacks, the intrusions into our elections, and the aggression against Navalny, then we will respond," he said, Reuters reported.

Newsweek has contacted the White House and the State Department for comment on Kasparov's remarks.

garry kasparov web summit
Russian chess Grandmaster and Avast Security Ambassador Garry Kasparov speaks during an interview at the Web Summit in Lisbon on November 3, 2021. Carlos Costa/AFP via Getty Images