United States imposes new Russian Federation sanctions over cyber-attacks

Martin H. Simon  ZUMA

Much of it is redacted The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by PhRMA - Primary results give both parties hopes for November MORE said in a statement Monday that the targets of the new sanctions helped FSB improve its cyber and underwater operations "and therefore jeopardize the safety and security of the United States and our allies".

Today's sanctions are in addition to those slapped on Russian individuals and companies by the Trump administration earlier this year in March.

The sanctions block property under USA jurisdiction belonging to companies and people and also prevent them from making any transactions with "US persons".

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the measures were to counter "malicious actors" working to "increase Russia's offensive cyber-capabilities".

In addition to being barred from the U.S. financial system, the measures mean American citizens and companies can not do business with the Russian entities.

U.S. officials have become alarmed over the past year at the extent of US-targeted offensive cyber operations that Washington alleges have official backing from Moscow. The Obama administration sanctioned Russia's FSB in December 2016, citing the Russian government's aggressive harassment of USA officials and cyber operations aimed at the 2016 presidential election.

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According to the Treasury Department, the sanctioned firms and individuals are involved in supporting and bolstering the Russian government's offensive hacking activities against the United States and other countries. "The United States is committed to aggressively targeting any entity or individual working at the direction of the FSB whose work threatens the United States and will continue to utilize our sanctions authorities, including those provided under CAATSA, to counter the constantly evolving threats emanating from Russian Federation".

The US continues to be at odds with Russian Federation over cyberattacks, including the VPNFilter malware that infected more than half a million routers this year. Hacks in the runup to the U.S. presidential election in 2016 are also linked to Russian Federation.

Moscow had no immediate comment on the new sanctions.

The companies affected are: Digital Security and its subsidiaries ERPScan and Embedi; the Kvant Scientific Research Institute; and Divetechnoservices.

According to the Treasury Department, "Russia has been active in tracking undersea communication cables" which carry global telecommunications data.

The individuals named on Monday all had ties to Divetechnoservices: its general director, Aleksandr Lvovich Tribun; its program manager, Oleg Sergeyevich; and Chirikov and Vladimir Yakovlevich Kaganskiy, the company's owner.

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