The US government has sanctioned several Russian firms, businessmen for engaging in cyber-attacks as well as assisting Russian military and intelligence services.
Five Russian firms and three executives from one of them have been imposed sanctions by the US treasury department under the legislation passed last year and an executive order aim at punishing efforts to hack into US computer systems.
The sanctions freeze any assets that they may have in the US jurisdictions and bar US citizens from doing business with them, Associated Press reported Monday.
"The United States is engaged in an ongoing effort to counter malicious actors working at the behest of the Russian Federation and its military and intelligence units to increase Russia's offensive cyber capabilities," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. He said the sanctions targeted entities that have "directly contributed to improving Russia's cyber and underwater capabilities" that jeopardize "the safety and security of the United States and our allies."
The department said the sanctions were a response to a number of cyber-attacks, including last year's Not Petya attack, as well as intrusions into the US energy grid and global network infrastructure. It also said that Russia had been tracking undersea cables that carry the bulk of the world's telecommunications data.
The companies affected are: Digital Security with offices in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and its subsidiaries ERPScan and Embedi, which have offices in Russia, Europe and Israel; St. Petersburg- and Moscow-based Kvant Scientific Research Institute; and Divetechnoservices of St. Petersburg. The three sanctioned men are Aleksandr Lvovich Tribun, Oleg Sergeyevich Chirikov, and Vladimir Yakovlevich Kaganskiy. They all work for Divetechnoservices.