U.S. issues sanctions against Russia for cyberattacks

The U.S. government issued a number of sanctions against Russia on Thursday in retaliation for election interference and the more recent SolarWinds cyber-attack – where cybercriminals accessed 18,000 computer networks.

The Biden administration announced sanctions against over 30 Russian entities, 10 Russian individuals, including intelligence officials and diplomats.

“President Biden signed a new sanctions executive order that provides strengthened authorities to demonstrate the Administration’s resolve in responding to and deterring the full scope of Russia’s harmful foreign activities,” the White House said in a news release.

The sanctions were also in response to reports that Russia encouraged Taliban fighters to attack coalition forces in Afghanistan.

The U.S. government also officially named Russia as the culprits behind the SolarWinds attack. An executive order also prohibits U.S. financial institutions from purchasing ruble-denominated bonds.

Last year, cybersecurity researchers identified a hack of a piece of software called SolarWinds — an intrusion that gave cyber criminals access to 18,000 government and private computer networks. The U.S. intelligence community identified hackers in Russia as behind the attack, and they gained access to digital files of several U.S. government agencies, including the Treasury, Justice and State Departments.