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More Russian firms, individuals hit with U.S. sanctions

Sheetal Sukhija - Tuesday 12th June, 2018

WASHINGTON, U.S. - In response to Russian cyberattacks on the U.S. and its allies, the U.S. Treasury Department slapped sanctions of five more Russian companies and three Russian individuals.

Announcing the move on Monday, the Treasury Department said that the companies and individuals identified had been sanctioned for supporting Russia’s malicious global campaign of cyberattacks.

The department added in its statement that the sanctioned firms provided “material and technological support” to Russia’s main security agency, the Federal Security Service (FSB).

In a statement, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, “The United States is engaged in an ongoing effort to counter malicious actors working at the behest of the Russian Federation. 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.”

As part of the move, any assets the businesses and executives have in the U.S. would be frozen.

Further, Americans would be barred from doing business with any of the identified firms or individuals.

Mnuchin added that Digital Security and its subsidiaries ERPScan and Embedi, the Kvant Scientific Research Institute, and Divetechnoservices were being included to the U.S. sanctions list.

Meanwhile, the newly sanctioned Russian individuals - Aleksandr Lvovich Tribun, Oleg Sergeyevich Chirikov, and Vladimir Yakovlevich Kaganskiy - all said to be employees of Divetechnoservices. 

According to the department, as of December, the company was owned by Vladimir Yakovlevich Kaganskiy.

The two other individuals sanctioned served in senior leadership roles at the company.

The department pointed out in its statement that Digital Security had provided material and technological support to Russia's FSB. 

Meanwhile, Divetechnoservices had procured a variety of underwater equipment and diving systems, including a submarine, for Russian government agencies.

Mnuchin said that the latest step by the Trump administration comes in response to Moscow’s digital attacks on the U.S. energy grid and global network infrastructure, its malware designed to infect routers around the world and its release of the NotPetya malware that crippled many Ukrainian businesses last year.

He further alleged that Russia had been tracking undersea cables that carry the bulk of the world's telecommunications data.

Mnuchin added, “The United States is committed to aggressively targeting any entity or individual working at the direction of the FSB whose work threatens the United States and will continue to utilize our sanctions authorities … to counter the constantly evolving threats emanating from Russia.”

The Treasury Department also pointed out that along with aiding the FSB, one of the firms, Kvant, is also “owned or controlled” by the Russian agency.

The department announced the sanctions under legislation passed last year and an executive order aimed at punishing efforts to hack into U.S. computer systems. 

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