US hits Russian firms with sanctions for cyberattacks

An operator works during the mooring of an undersea fiber optic cable at Arrietara beach near the Spanish Basque village of Sopelana

An operator works during the mooring of an undersea fiber optic cable at Arrietara beach near the Spanish Basque village of Sopelana

The United States government has imposed more sanctions on Russian companies and individuals for engaging in cyberattacks and helping Russia with malicious activities.

All worked on development of "offensive" cyber and underwater capabilities, posing a danger to the security of the United States and its allies, Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said.

The designation blocks all property of those targeted that is subject to US jurisdiction and prohibits American citizens from engaging in transactions with them.

It is also reported today's action also targets the Russian government's underwater capabilities.

The sanctions are also in response to Russia's tracking and potential targeting of undersea communication cables, which carry the bulk of the world's telecommunications data, officials said.

The entities sanctioned by the USA are Digital Security, and their subsidiaries ERPScan and Embedi, and Kvant Scientific Research Institute (Kvant) and Divetechnoservices. The three sanctioned men 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.

Treasury officials noted that Russia's destabilizing cyber activities have included unleashing the destructive NotPetya computer worm, cyber penetrations of the USA energy grid to enable potential future sabotage, and global compromises of network devices such as routers and switches that also could enable potential disruptive cyber attacks.

OFAC slapped sanctions on a firm called Digital Security and two subsidiaries for their work on an unspecified project "that would increase Russia's offensive cyber capabilities" for agencies including FSB, the Treasury Department said.

Moscow has not yet responded to the latest round of United States sanctions, which come only a few days after President Donald Trump shockingly called for Russian Federation to be readmitted to the G7 club of world leaders.

Digital Security was designated pursuant to E.O.

Of particular interest are Embedi and ERPScan, who are both well known within the infosec community.

In 2012, Divetechnoservices says it supplied Canadian "DeepWorker" underwater vehicles to "a Russian state enterprise". Digital Security has some major clients, including Yandex, QIWI, Mail.ru Group, Tele2, and SAP.

The companies and individuals sanctioned are banned from the USA financial system, according to The Hill.

The FSB, or Russia's Federal Security Service, is the successor to the KGB and is believed to carry out numerous government's cyberattacks.

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