The UK has welcomed today's announcement (Thursday 30 July) that the European Union has imposed sanctions against nine individuals and organisations from North Korea, China and Russian Federation, in the first set of sanctions under the EU's cyber sanctions regime.
The restrictive measures are a response to the attempted cyber-attack against the OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) and cyber attacks that are publicly known as WannaCry, NotPetya, and Operation Cloud Hopper.
An export firm based in North Korea and technology company from Tiajin, China, were also listed.
This resolution was determined by Unit 74455's involvement as the threat actor tracked as "Sandworm" in the June 2017NotPetya (EternalPetya) ransomware campaign and cyber-attacks against Ukraine's power grid in the winter of 2015 and 2016.More news: German coronavirus studies identify heart issues in COVID-19 patients
The two sanctioned Chinese nationals were accused of involvement in "Operation Cloud Hopper", which the European Union said hit companies on six continents, including Europe, through cloud services providers and "gained unauthorised access to commercially sensitive data, resulting in significant economic loss".
The attacks represented "an external threat to the European Union or its member states" or had "a significant effect against third states or worldwide organizations", he added.
A leading United States cybersecurity expert noted that the attempt to hack the chemical weapons group involved a rare physical visit to its organization's facilities in The Hague, Netherlands.
In a statement, the European Council said that EU's cyber diplomacy toolbox provides the option of imposing sanctions to respond to cyber activities that threaten EU interests, and this is the first time that EU has used the tool.More news: Apple iPhone shipments grew 13.1% in Q2 despite pandemic, report says [u]
In a declaration, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the bloc "will continue to strongly promote responsible behaviour in cyberspace, and call upon every country to cooperate in favour of global peace and stability, to exercise due diligence and take appropriate action against actors conducting malicious cyber activities". "The price for bad behaviour is being increased, because the bad guys still get away with it too often", said Dutch foreign minister Stef Blok.
The UK's autonomous cyber sanctions regime will allow it to impose travel bans and asset freezes on individuals and organizations.
Chinese organisation Tianjin Huaying Haitai Science and Technology Development Co.
Another target was Chosun Expo, an export company from North Korea which, under the "WannaCry" banner, is said to have helped hack the Polish Financial Supervision Authority and Sony Pictures Entertainment.More news: NASA relegates four astronauts to SpaceX mission planned for 2021