U.S. Hits Russian Firms With Sanctions, Citing Cyberattacks

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testifies before a Senate Appropriations Committee for Financial Services hearing on the proposed FY2019 budget for the Treasury Department in Washington DC

The Treasury Department announced sanctions against five companies and three people on Monday, saying they'd help develop many of hacks coming out of Russian Federation.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the firms and individuals targeted "have directly contributed to improving Russia's cyber and underwater capabilities" through work with Russia's Federal Security Service.

The sanctions issued by the US Treasury department freeze any properties the Russian entities own in US jurisdiction and prohibit American citizens from doing business with them.

Those include the global NotPetya cyber attack, which paralyzed thousands of computers around the world previous year; intrusions into the control systems of the USA energy grid; and the insertion of trojans into home and company networking devices around the world, which allow both the diversion of data and attacks that could shut down networks. Divetechnoservices, one of the sanctioned firms, was awarded a contract to procure a submarine for the FSB, according to Treasury.

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It also said that Russian Federation had been tracking undersea cables that carry the bulk of the world's telecommunications data.

In the June 11 announcement, the Treasury named a St. Petersburg-based company called Digital Security, accusing it of involvement in efforts "to increase Russia's offensive cyber capabilities".

The three Russian individuals who were sanctioned are Aleksandr Lvovich Tribun, Oleg Sergeyevich Chirikov, and Vladimir Yakovlevich Kaganskiy. The author has made every effort to ensure accuracy of information provided; however, neither Kitco Metals Inc. nor the author can guarantee such accuracy.

The press release included examples of Russia's malicious cyber activity, which included the NotPetya attack, attacks against USA network infrastructure, utilities, and other disruptive cyber-attacks.

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The new sanctions also target Russian underwater capabilities. The last company was working on a $1.5-million "submersible craft" for the FSB.

Updated An expansion of sanctions on companies connected with Russian government cyberattacks has pulled in two USA tech companies. They include Digital Security, ERPScan and Embedi. Russian Sen. Konstantin Kosachev said Washington is revealing that its mechanism for punishing Russia is "out of the control of common sense" and looks "more and more unconvincing and ever more pitiful". No mention of their affiliation with Digital Security could be readily found on either of their web sites.

There was no immediate response to an e-mail sent by RFE/RL to the company's headquarters, and an affiliate office in Palo Alto, California.

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