U.S. sanctions Russians over military, intelligence hacking


US issues more anti-Russia sanctions related to alleged cyber activity

The U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions on three Russian individuals and five companies on Monday, saying they had worked with Moscow's military and intelligence services on ways to conduct cyber attacks against the United States and its allies. He said the sanctions targeted entities that have "directly contributed to improving Russia's cyber and underwater capabilities" that jeopardize "the safety and security of the United States and our allies".

The designation blocks all property of those targeted that is subject to USA jurisdiction and prohibits American citizens from engaging in 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 US energy grid and global network infrastructure.

"Today's action also targets the Russian government's underwater capabilities", the Treasury Department said.

The Russian state research center, the Kvant Institute, which specializes in research and technological development of electronic hardware and software for the state and its public institutions, has also been added to the sanctions list.

The three people named - Aleksandr Tribun, Oleg Chirikov and Vladimir Kaganskiy - reportedly have ties to Divetechnoservices, a company that allegedly specialises in hacking into undersea communications cables.

None of the sanctioned parties were immediately able to respond to Sky News for comment. "These targeted sanctions are a part of a broader effort to address the ongoing nefarious attacks emanating from Russian Federation". All of these individuals work for Divetechnoservices.

The US has issued new sanctions against Russians who it says assisted the Kremlin in developing offensive cyber activities.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) also listed Israel-headquartered company Embedi for links to Digital Security - whose websites describes it as a information security consultancy - although the statement did not provide details on the alleged relationship.

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

At the time, the administration publicly blamed Moscow for the first time for a campaign of cyberattacks that targeted the USA power grid, including nuclear facilities, and stretched back at least two years.

Moscow has repeatedly denied any involvement in the United States elections, calling them absurd.

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