US Treasury Levies More Russian Sanctions Over Cyber Attacks

Pavel GolovkinAP Images

The U.S. Treasury Department is imposing sanctions against five Russian companies and three individuals in response to cyber attacks, Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced today. This latest action is a followup to penalties levied against Russian entities by the Trump administration in March. This international development also occurs as President Trump is in Singapore for a summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

The Russian firms named by the Treasury are Digital Security, ERPScan, Embedi, Kvant Scientific Research Institute, and Divetechnoservices, the Washington Examiner reported. Three executives from one of the companies are also included in the sanctions. The action serves to freeze any property owned by the Russian entities and bans American citizens from doing any business with them.

ERPScan and Embedi are apparently subsidiaries of Digital Security.

Secretary Mnuchin warned that the U.S. government is taking any espionage attempts by the Russian government to hack into computer networks very seriously, Reuters reported.

“The United States is engaged in an ongoing effort to counter malicious actors working at the behest of the Russian Federation and its military and intelligence units to increase Russia’s offensive cyber capabilities…The entities designated today have directly contributed to improving Russia’s cyber and underwater capabilities through their work with the FSB and therefore jeopardize the safety and security of the United States and our allies.”

The FSB is the acronym for the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, a successor agency to the KGB. Russian President Vladimir Putin was a former KGB officer, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel.

The Treasury Department indicated that “Digital Security had provided material and technological support to [the] FSB,” the Associated Press explained, while Divetechnoservices provided a submarine and other underwater equipment to the Russian government, which could enable Moscow to track undersea telecommunications data cable networks, the Examiner noted.

The new sanctions on Russia are apparently the result of last year’s NotPetya global malware attack as well as efforts meant to compromise the U.S. energy grid.

In March, President Trump levied sanctions against five entities and 19 individuals linked to the Russian intelligence services.

“The penalties were issued under the Russian sanctions law Congress passed last year and a 2015 executive order targeting cyber crime,” The Hill explained about today’s sanctions. “Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which administers sanctions, targeted a Russian cyber firm, two of its subsidiaries, a cyber research center and an underwater technology company for their work for the FSB.”

The new cyber attack-related Russian sanctions constitute a developing story; please check back with the Inquisitr for updates.