US President Joe Biden has been presented with options to carry out cyberattacks on Russia that would disrupt its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
NBC News reports that, according to four sources, the president was given a number of potential proposals that would dramatically escalate the use of cyberweaponry in a conflict.
Among the options would be to disrupt Internet connectivity across Russia, shut off electric power, or tamper with railroad switches to impact Russia’s ability to resupply its forces.
“You could do everything from slow the trains down to have them fall off the tracks,” one source claimed.
Biden's response to the proposals is not known. Government officials are said to be divided, with some seeing it as a necessary step to help contain a deepening crisis, and others viewing it as a dangerous escalation that could lead to attacks on the homeland.
The officials are also debating the legal authority of the attacks, and whether they would class as acts of war.
Should any of the options go ahead, the US would not publicly acknowledge its involvement.
Between 2007 and 2010, US and Israeli cyber forces disrupted the Iranian nuclear program with the Stuxnet virus, which is believed to be the first time a state used a cyberattack to damage physical equipment.
Since then, US cyber operations have infiltrated the infrastructure of potential adversaries like Russia and China to be able to pull off attacks like the presented options. However, both have done the same to the US.
Russia and China have also been exceedingly successful at infiltrating US government and contractor networks to steal classified information and intellectual property.
"This report on cyber options being presented to POTUS is off base and does not reflect what is actually being discussed in any shape or form," White House press secretary Jen Psaki claimed.