The European Union imposed its first-ever sanctions on July 30 against people and entities behind alleged cyberattacks on the EU and its Member States. The 27-member bloc imposed travel and financial sanctions on a department of Russia’s military intelligence service and Chinese and North Korean firms over suspected involvement in the cyberattacks.
EU accused the Russian intelligence service of carrying out two cyberattacks in 2017 which caused large financial losses to several European companies. It has also sanctioned Chinese firm Haitai Technology Development for supporting cyberattacks aimed at stealing commercially sensitive data from multinational firms across the world.
The bloc has imposed sanctions on North Korean company Chosun Expo for supporting the Lazarus Group in a series of major cyberattacks worldwide, Including the world’s biggest cyber fraud at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in 2016. The company was also allegedly involved in a cyberattack against Hollywood film studio Sony Pictures to prevent the release of a satirical film on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The sanctions include a travel ban and an asset freeze, and EU persons and entities have been forbidden from making funds available to those listed. EU said that it used this tool for the first time to prevent, deter and respond to malicious cyber activities directed against the bloc or its member states.
Recently, Britain accused Russian intelligence services of trying to steal coronavirus vaccine research. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) published an advisory on July 16, detailing tactics and techniques of a hacker group commonly known as ‘APT29’, also known as ‘the Dukes’ or ‘Cozy Bear’.
The British government said that experts at NCSC are almost certain that APT29, which has targeted medical research and development organisations, is a part of the Russian Intelligence Services. However, Kremlin dismissed the claims, saying Russia has no information on who was responsible for hacking into pharmaceutical companies and research centres in Britain.