New sanctions against Russia
The US Treasury on Friday announced sanctions against the Russian state
However, the United States noted that the sanctions imposedagainst Russia on Friday are not related to election interference. The charges were brought under a section of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
According to the Ministry of Finance, the State Scientific CenterThe Russian Federation Federal State Unitary Enterprise Central Research Institute of Chemistry and Mechanics (TsNIIHM) supported a cyberattack in August 2017 using Triton malware on a petrochemical facility in the Middle East.
“The TRITON malware was designed to targetdisabling the last line of defense in industrial systems, which has allowed the hackers controlling those systems to make things very dangerous, ”John Haltqvist, senior director of FireEye, told CNN on Friday. "Without the safety systems that TRITON uses, human life is in danger."
"The Russian government continues to participatein dangerous cyber activities against the United States and our allies, ”Treasury Secretary Stephen T. Mnuchin said in his latest statement. "The presidential administration will continue to aggressively defend the critical infrastructure of the United States from anyone who tries to disrupt it."
Cyberattack announced in the US in the eveningFriday, allowed the United States to impose sanctions on the Central Research Institute of Chemistry and Mechanics, described in the documents as "a government agency located in Moscow that was previously associated with Triton by the American cybersecurity firm FireEye Inc." American researchers have linked the Triton discovered in 2017 to an attack on a Saudi petrochemical plant. As a result of this attack, the Safety Shutdown, which was considered critical to protect against catastrophic events, was disrupted and disabled, leading to an investigation that revealed malware.
What virus are we talking about?
John Haltqvist, Director of Analysisintelligence agency FireEye said Triton, also known as Trisis, was "potentially the most dangerous tool we have ever encountered" due to its ability to disrupt factory safety systems with deadly consequences.
According to Mr. Haltqvist, Triton hacked systemsoperations in many countries in the Middle East, and Russia was seen attacking American systems as well, although none of these operations led to successful incursions.
“The Triton malware was developedspecifically to target and manipulate industrial security systems, ”said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. "Such systems provide safe emergency shutdown of production processes at critical infrastructure facilities in order to protect human life."
“Although the Russian government states thatis a responsible player in cyberspace, it continues to engage in dangerous and malicious activities that threaten the security of the United States and our allies. We will not weaken our efforts to respond to these actions, using all the tools at our disposal, including sanctions, ”he concluded.
How did Russia respond to the accusations?
The Russian Ambassador called the US sanctions in thein relation to the Research Institute of Chemistry. Anatoly Antonov said that Russia does not conduct offensive operations in the cybersphere, "unlike the United States," and called on the United States to abandon "unfounded attacks." In Washington, it is believed that the Research Institute of Chemistry and Mechanics was involved in the hacker attack.
“We completely reject theaccusations against the Federal State Unitary Enterprise “Central Research Institute of Chemistry and Mechanics”. We again emphasize the illegitimacy of any unilateral restrictions, ”the ambassador said. His answer is posted on the embassy's Facebook page.
Antonov again called on the United States to "abandon the viciouspractice of unfounded attacks ”. “We proceed from the fact that the interests of our countries are in line with a professional dialogue on international information security, which the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin proposed to restore,” the ambassador concluded.
What will the sanctions lead to?
As a result of the sanctions, “all property and interests inCNIIHM property owned or owned by US citizens is blocked, and US individuals are generally prohibited from performing transactions with them. In addition, any legal entities 50 percent or more owned by one or more of these entities are also blocked. Moreover, non-American persons who participate in certain transactions with TsNIIHM may themselves be subject to sanctions. "
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