First-ever EU cyber sanctions imposed on Russian, Chinese, North Korean agents

Published: July 31, 2020

The European Union has imposed its first-ever sanctions over cyber-attacks, slapping them on alleged Russian military agents, Chinese cyberspies and organizations including a North Korean firm.

Details of Sanctions

The six people and three groups hit with sanctions include Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency. The EU baled them for the 2017 WannaCry ransomware and NotPetya malware attacks and the Cloud Hopper cyber espionage campaign. The sanctions include a travel ban and asset freeze to natural persons and asset freeze to entities or bodies. The organizations are also prohibited from raising funds.

Russian Involvement

The GRU was sanctioned as they were accused of trying to hack the Wi-FI network of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Also, they were responsible for NotPetya, which targeted companies that do business with Ukraine and caused billions of dollars in damage globally and cyber-attacks on Ukraine’s power grid in 2015 and 2016.

Chinese Involvement

The Chinese were accused of Operation Cloud Hopper, which the EU declared hit companies on six continents, including Europe, through cloud service providers and also gained unauthorized access to commercially sensitive data, resulting in significant economic loss.

North Korean Involvement

The North Korean firm sanctioned is known as Chosun Expo which backed cyber-attacks including WannaCry, the hacking of Sony Pictures and cyber robberies of Vietnamese and Bangladeshi banks.

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