US hits Russian firms with sanctions, citing cyberattacks

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testifies before a Senate Appropriations Committee for Financial Services hearing on the proposed FY2019 budget for the Treasury Department in Washington DC

Image US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has issued the new sanctions

The sanctions freeze any assets that they may have in US jurisdictions and bar Americans from doing business with them.

And in April, U.S. and British officials accused the Russian government of hacking into routers and other network devices across the globe to conduct espionage and intellectual property theft.The Treasury Department also said that the sanctioned entities are involved in supporting Moscow's efforts to track undersea communication cables, which hold most of the world's telecommunications data.

"The United States is making efforts to counter malicious organizations that work at the direction of the Russian authorities, the Russian military and its intelligence to increase offensive abilities in cybersphere",- said the Minister.

"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", said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.

US officials announced new sanctions Monday to punish Russian entities and individuals over cyberattacks launched over the past year.

Three top Divetechnoservices executives-Aleksandr Lvovich Tribun, Oleg Sergeyevich Chirikov and Vladimir Yakovlevich Kaganskiy-were also targeted by OFAC on Monday.

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The four other companies added to the blacklist also allegedly have links to Russian Federation, though the remaining individuals on the list are of Sudanese or Libyan nationality.

According to the news portal RBC, Digital Security company engaged in consulting in the field of information security, "Dayvtekhnoservis" specializiruetsya on all types of diving equipment, services, and "scientific research Institute "Kvant" develops and maintains computers and systems for special and civil purposes". The U.S. agency did provide details of what the companies did to bolster the FSB's offensive cyber capabilities, but identified them as a threat to U.S. security nonetheless.

Their assets were frozen, and US citizens were banned any cooperation with sanctioned companies and people.

ERPScan and Embedi were designated pursuant to E.O. Digital Security has some major clients, including Yandex, QIWI, Mail.ru Group, Tele2, and SAP.

Polyakov Alexander, founder and CTO of ERPScan has been in contact to say he's baffled by the ban and it appears someone in the Treasury Department has goofed.

"I woke up and was embraced by such news. We will continue helping protect critical SAP and Oracle software from cyberattacks as we did, and it doesn't matter what has happened".

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