The EU Council announced yesterday that Russian military intelligence officers belonging to the 85th Main Center for Special Services (GTsSS) had been sanctioned for allegedly participating in a 2015 hack by the German Parliament (Deutscher Bundestag). EU sanctions against Russian officials include both travel restrictions and a "freeze" on assets, while not allowing organizations and EU individuals to transfer money to entities and individuals where sanctions have been imposed.
A press release released yesterday said the sanctions were part of a broader EU effort to mitigate cyber threats, aiming at preventing, discouraging, deterring and responding to the ever-increasing cyber threats.
Dmitry Sergeyevich Badin and Igor Olegovich Kostyukov are the two Russian military intelligence officers who have been sanctioned. These are its members GTsSS (APT group also known as APT28, Fancy Bear, Sofacy Group, Sednit and Strontium), which is also the target of restrictive measures imposed by the EU Council. Kostyukov is also the head of the Central Command of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (GU / GRU), having previously held the position of First Deputy Chief. In this capacity, Igor Kostyukov is responsible for cyber attacks carried out by the GTsSS, including those posing an external threat to the EU or its Member States.
Members of the Russian military intelligence service were also charged by USA for violation of the National Committee of the Democratic Party (DNC) and the Commission for the Democratic Party of Congress (DCCC) Campaign in 2016, before the presidential elections of that year.
The German Parliament hack affected its operation for several days between April and May, resulting in the breach of accounts e-mail many Members of Parliament. The cyber-attack targeted Parliament's information system and affected its ability to operate for several days, according to the EU Council. The Council added that a large amount of data had been stolen and the email accounts of many members of Parliament had been breached, including that of Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The legal framework allowing sanctions on Russian officers was established by the EU Council on 17 May 2019 and first applied in July 2020, when EU sanctions were imposed on Russian military intelligence unit 74455. as well as in front companies for its teams China and North Korea orchestrated cyber-attacks targeting the EU and its member states.
The framework allows the EU to impose restrictive measures to prevent and respond to cyber-attacks that pose an external threat to the EU or its Member States, including cyber-attacks against third countries or international organizations where limited measures are deemed necessary. of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). It is also specifically designed to allow the EU to impose sanctions on individuals and entities responsible for both attempted and successful cyberattacks if they involve or provide support to individuals and groups behind the attacks.