The first-ever sanction against Cybercriminals that are targeting European Citizens was imposed by the Council of the European Union. There were six individuals and three entities that were involved in various Cyber-attacks, such as WannaCry, NotPetya, and Operation Cloud Hopper.
The six individuals involved include Chinese Citizens and Russian Nationals. Technology companies from Russia and China, as well as an export from North Korea, are the companies involved that are engaged in carrying out Cyberattacks.
A freeze of assets on persons and entities. As well as travel bans in any European Union Countries are the sanctions that were imposed.
Aside from these, EU Citizens and entities are prohibited in any business transactions from the mentioned individuals and entities.
The two Chinese Individuals were identified as Gao Qiang and Zhang Shilong (known online as Baobeilong, Zhang Jianguo, and Atreexp) and the Technology firm named Tianjin Huaying Haitai Science and Technology Development Co. Ltd.
In 2018, the US Government also charged Zhang Shilong as he targeted over 45 Companies and Government Agencies. He reportedly stole hundreds of Gigabytes of sensitive data from its targets.
The cyber-attack Operation Cloud Hopper is a series of Cyber-attacks that target the Information system of Huge Organization that aims to acquire unauthorized access to their sensitive data that results in economic loss. It also reportedly attacks XDhuge Organizations for the prohibition of chemical weapons.
Four Russian nationals are also wanted by FBI – Alexey Valeryevich, Aleksei Sergeyvich, Evgenii Mikhaylovich, and Oleg Mikhaylovich. In the Netherlands, they attempted to target an Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). As per the hackers, they tried to attack OPCW’s Wifi Network, which would have allowed them to compromise the OPCW’s ongoing investigations.
GRU Main Center for Special Technologies (GTsST) from Armed Forces of the Russian Federation is the threat actors behind the NotPetya Ransomware attack back in 2017 and some Cyberattacks that were orchestrated back in 2015 and 2016 at a Ukrainian power grid.
Chosun Expo is the firm behind WannaCry (also known as ‘Wana Decrypt0r,’ ‘WannaCryptor’ or ‘WCRY’) is active on ransomware operation in 2017. WannaCry has reportedly hit several Organizations in at least 150 countries, including the United States, Australia Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.
The North Korean firm is reportedly connected to the well-known Lazarus Group, which is also known as Hidden Cobra and Guardians of Peace, which is believed to be backed by the North Korean government. They are known in launching cyberattacks that target Media Organization, Aerospace, Financial and Infrastructure sectors. They were punished by the United States in 2019. This Group was also reportedly the Threat actors behind Sony Pictures hack in 2014 and the Bangladesh Bank heist in 2016.
As per EU Council, that sanctions are one of the available options in the Cyber Diplomacy Toolbox for the European Union or its member states, and it’s the first time that they used the said tool.