The United States slapped sanctions Monday on at least one Israeli company over links to a Russian firm accused of buttressing the "offensive cyber capabilities" of Russia's intelligence service, the FSB.
Another company listed as having an Israeli address, ERPScan, was also added to the Treasury blacklist, which freezes all USA property belonging to the companies and prohibits United States citizens from doing business with them.
It also called out Russian efforts to track the underwater communication cables that carry most of the world's telecommunications data.
The companies affected are: Digital Security with offices in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and its subsidiaries ERPScan and Embedi, which have offices in Russia, Europe and Israel; St. Petersburg- and Moscow-based Kvant Scientific Research Institute; and Divetechnoservices of St. Petersburg. The author has made every effort to ensure accuracy of information provided; however, neither Kitco Metals Inc. nor the author can guarantee such accuracy.
The five businesses named are the Russian firm Digital Security, which the Treasury alleged worked on a project increasing the offensive cyber capabilities of the Russian intelligence services.
Treasury officials noted that Russia's destabilizing cyber activities have included unleashing the destructive NotPetya computer worm, cyber penetrations of the US energy grid to enable potential future sabotage, and global compromises of network devices such as routers and switches that also could enable potential disruptive cyber attacks.
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The entities designated today have directly contributed to improving Russia's cyber and underwater capabilities through their work with the FSB and therefore jeopardize the safety and security of the United States and its allies.
US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military officials have warned in the past of an increase in Russian submarines conducting activity along undersea data cables.
Just days before Treasury announced the new sanctions, Trump insisted that Russian Federation be returned to the worldwide group of advanced economic nations that met in Canada this weekend. "We have never worked with any government - the Russian or U.S., or any government", he said.
Their assets were frozen, and US citizens were banned any cooperation with sanctioned companies and people.
It's not clear whether the United States government believes Embedi and ERPScan were also involved in that project, and the official notice doesn't accuse them of having done so, noting only that they are subsidiaries of Digital Security. No mention of their affiliation with Digital Security could be readily found on either of their web sites.