Biden battles Russian hacking groups with restrictions on IT firms - TechnoExploit


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Sunday, July 18, 2021

Biden battles Russian hacking groups with restrictions on IT firms

WASHINGTON, July 16 (Reuters) - The United States on Friday took a new stab at Russia's cybersecurity industry, restricting trade with four information technology firms and two other entities over "aggressive and harmful" activities - including digital espionage - that Washington blames on the Russian government.

A Commerce Department posting said the six entities were sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department in April, which targeted companies in the technology sector that support Russian intelligence services.

Their addition to the Commerce Department's blacklist means U.S. companies cannot sell to them without licenses, which are seldom granted. The announcement follows April's sanctions, which were aimed at punishing Moscow for hacking, interfering in last year's U.S. election, poisoning Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and other alleged malign actions - allegations the Kremlin denies.

They come as the United States is responding to a drumbeat of digital intrusions blamed on Russian Government-backed spies and a spate of increasingly disruptive ransomware outbreaks blamed on Russian cybercriminals.

The entities added to the blacklist are Aktsionernoe Obshchaestvo AST; Aktsionernoe Obshchestvo Pasit; Aktsionernoe Obshchestvo Pozitiv Teknolodzhiz, also known as JSC Positive Technologies; Federal State Autonomous Institution Military Innovative Technopolis Era; Federal State Autonomous Scientific Establishment Scientific Research Institute Specialized Security Computing Devices and Automation and Obshchestvo S Ogranichennoi Otvetstvennostyu Neobit.

Demers said investigators would be looking at "a known connection between a particular company and the Russian intelligence services" as they evaluated whether a company was a risk. Non-Russian companies that had back office operations in Russia would also be examined, he said. Source

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