U.S. Battles Russian Hackers With IT Firm Restrictions

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The U.S. has imposed new restrictions on Russia’s cybersecurity industry, restricting trade with four IT firms and two other entities over “aggressive and harmful” activities.

A Commerce Department statement said the six companies were sanctioned in April by the U.S. Treasury Department, which has targeted technology companies that support Soviet intelligence.

Their inclusion on the Commerce Department’s blacklist means that U.S. companies are prohibited from selling to them without licenses, which are rarely issued.

The announcement follows April’s sanctions aimed at punishing Russians for hacking, interference in last year’s U.S. elections, the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, and other allegations that the Kremlin denies.

It comes as the U.S. responds to a series of digital intrusions blamed on Russian government-backed spies, as well as a spate of increasingly disruptive ransomware outbreaks blamed on Russian cybercriminals.

On the blacklist are the following companies: 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 (SVA); and Obshchestvo S Ogranichennoi Otvetstvennostyu Neobit.

Restrictions on the Russian technology industry have been in place for some time. On the same day that the Treasury Department announced sanctions, then-Deputy Attorney General John Demers told reporters that officials were reviewing dozens of Russian companies for possible referrals to the Commerce Department.

For more information, read the original story in Reuters.

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