U.S. sanctions Russians over military, intelligence hacking

Elias Hubbard
June 12, 2018

Three individuals and five Russian businesses have been placed on the sanctions list by the US Treasury for having provided material and technological support to the Federal Security Service (FSB).

The firms designated in Monday's announcement have directly contributed to improving Russia's cyber capabilities through their work with the FSB, which has compromised the security of the U.S. and its allies, Mnuchin said.

The sanctioned targets are banned from the USA financial system and American citizens and business are prohibited from any transactions with them.

Treasury said the sanctions were a response to a number of cyberattacks, including last year's NotPetya attack, as well as intrusions into the USA energy grid and global network infrastructure.

The new sanctions also target Russian underwater capabilities.

And in April, U.S. and British officials accused the Russian government of hacking into routers and other network devices across the globe to conduct espionage and intellectual property theft.The Treasury Department also said that the sanctioned entities are involved in supporting Moscow's efforts to track undersea communication cables, which hold most of the world's telecommunications data.

The designated firms are Digital Security, ERPScan, Embedi, Kvant Scientific Research Institute, and Divetechnoservices.

The three individuals named in the new sanctions, Aleksandr Lvovich Tribun, Oleg Sergeyevich Chirikov, and Vladimir Yakovlevich Kaganskiy, were all senior staff at Divetechnoservices.

None of the sanctioned parties were immediately able to respond to Sky News for comment. All of these individuals work for Divetechnoservices.

The penalties were issued under the Russian sanctions law Congress passed previous year and a 2015 executive order targeting cybercrime.

"One of the owners of ERPScan is also a DSEC owner, but companies are not subsidiaries, they are different", Polyakov told BleepingComputer.

The sanctions follow charges filed in February against 13 employees of a Russian troll factory which was accused of attempting to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The Obama administration sanctioned Russia's FSB in December 2016, citing the Russian government's aggressive harassment of US officials and cyber operations aimed at the 2016 presidential election.

At the time, the administration publicly blamed Moscow for the first time for a campaign of cyberattacks that targeted the US power grid, including nuclear facilities, and stretched back at least two years. Trump has repeatedly denied there was any collusion and Russian Federation has said it did not meddle in the election.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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