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EU Sanctions Six Russian Hackers

The European Council has added six Russian hackers to the EU’s sanctions list for their cyberattacks against member states and Ukraine.

The European Council announced on Monday that six Russian nationals have been added to the European Union’s sanctions list for their malicious cyber activities.

The six individuals are accused of being involved in cyberattacks aimed at EU members, as well as Ukraine. The sanctions were proposed by the Netherlands.

“For the first time, restrictive measures are being taken against cybercriminal actors that use ransomware campaigns against essential services, such as health and banking,” the European Council announced.

Two of the sanctioned individuals are Ruslan Peretyatko and Andrey Korinets, believed to be Russian military intelligence officers who are part of the APT tracked as Star Blizzard, Callisto Group, BlueCharlie, and ColdRiver. 

Peretyatko and Korinets were charged and sanctioned by the United States and the United Kingdom in December 2023. They are believed to have played an important role in both cyberespionage and influence operations. The US is offering a reward of up to $10 million for information on Peretyatko and Korinets.

The EU’s sanctions also target Mikhail Tsarev and Maksim Galochkin, two alleged cybercriminals believed to have deployed Conti ransomware and Trickbot malware as part of a group named Wizard Spider, which is said to have caused significant economic damage in the EU.

Tsarev and Galochkin were two of the eleven Russian nationals sanctioned by the US and UK in September 2023 for their role in Trickbot attacks. 

The last two individuals sanctioned by the EU this week are Oleksandr Sklianko and Mykola Chernykh. They are believed to be part of the group known as Gamaredon and Armageddon, which has been linked to Russia’s FSB security service.

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The identities of Sklianko and Chernykh and their links to Gamaredon were made public by Ukraine’s SSU security service back in November 2021, but they were not previously targeted by sanctions. 

The newly announced sanctions mean the six Russians will have their assets in the EU frozen, and they are not allowed to enter the EU. In addition, entities in the European Union are prohibited from making any transactions with them. 

The EU’s sanctions list currently includes 14 individuals and four entities from Russia, China and North Korea. 

The EU’s actions come just days after the US announced a ban on the sale of software from Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky, as well as sanctions against a dozen of the company’s executives. 

Related: US Treasury Slaps Sanctions on China-Linked APT31 Hackers

Related: US Sanctions Spyware Company and Executives Who Targeted American Journalists, Government Officials

Related: US Slaps Sanctions on ‘Dangerous’ Iranian Hackers Linked to Water Utility Hacks 

Written By

Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a managing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.

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