The European Union imposed its first ever sanctions against alleged cyber attackers on Thursday, targeting Russian and Chinese individuals and a specialist unit of Moscow’s GRU military intelligence agency. An export firm based in North Korea and technology company from Tiajin, China, were also listed. The member states said measures would be taken against six individuals and three entities involved in various actions, including the attempt to hack into the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). They also included suspects said to be involved in the major cyber assaults known by the nicknames “WannaCry”, “NotPetya” and “Operation Could Hopper”.
The individuals will be banned from travel to the European Union and all the targets will be subject to an asset freeze for any funds in areas under EU jurisdiction. In addition, the European Council of member states said: “EU persons and entities are forbidden from making funds available to those listed.” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the action had been taken “to better prevent, discourage, deter and respond to such malicious behaviour in cyberspace”.