EU sanctions Russian intelligence, North Korean, Chinese firms over alleged cyberattacks

State backed hackers

The EU has imposed travel and financial sanctions on a section of Russia’s military intelligence service and on business entities from North Korea and China over their involvement in major cyberattacks across the world.

KEY POINTS:

  • The European Union imposes travel and financial sanctions on the portions of Russia’s military intellgence, along with China and North Korean business entities
  • The EU suspects them as being key players in major cyberattacks across the world

In its first sanctions associated with cybercrime, the EU targeted the department for engineering of the Russian army intelligence agency, known as Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, it said in a statement.

The bloc accused the Russian service of getting carried out two cyberattacks in June 2017, which struck companies in Europe resulting in substantial losses. The service is also accused of two cyberattacks against Ukraine’s power grid.

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Four people working for the Russian military intelligence service were also sanctioned for allegedly participating in an attempted cyberattack from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in the Netherlands in April 2018.

North Korean company Chosun Expo was also sanctioned on suspicion of having supported the Lazarus Group, that is deemed responsible for a series of major attacks worldwide, including a $81 million heist from Bangladesh Bank’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York at 2016, the world’s largest cyber fraud.

The company is also linked to an attack against Hollywood movie studio Sony Pictures to prevent the release of a film that was satirical about North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in 2014.

It said North Korea’s main intelligence agency was behind the groups.

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North Korea has denied any involvement in cyberattacks.

The EU sanctions also hit on Chinese company Haitai Technology Development, which is accused of having supported cyberattacks – known as Operation Cloud Hopper – aimed at stealing information from multinationals across the world. Two Chinese people allegedly involved in the strikes were sanctioned.

Sanctions include travel bans and asset freezes. EU businesses and other entities are prohibited from making funds available to people blacklisted.

China wants global cyberspace safety to be preserved through “dialogue and cooperation” and not by unilateral sanctions, the announcement added.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Initial reporting via our content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Francesco Guarascio. Additional reporting by Wang Jing and David Stanway in Shanghai. Editing by Mark Potter, Hugh Lawson and Lincoln Feast.

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