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New White House Executive Order Authorizes Sanctions on Foreign Cyber Attackers

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cybersecurityPresident Barack Obama has issued an executive order to create new sanctions against countries and people overseas that launch “significant” cyber attacks on U.S. assets and citizens, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

The executive order also authorizes the Treasury to freeze the accounts of foreign hackers or block their access to banks, Damian Paletta writes.

“I intend to employ the authorities of my office and this administration, including diplomatic engagement, trade policy tools, and law enforcement mechanisms, to counter the threat posed by malicious cyber actors,” the president said in an accompanying statement, according to the report.

According to the Journal, the sanctions also cover those who receive or use information from cyber theft or assist in attempted attacks.

Dustin Volz of the National Journal also reports that the order described “significant” cyber attacks as those that impact critical infrastructure, disrupt computer or network operations or lead to the unauthorized use of personal or financial information, trade secrets and economic resources.

The report noted that the sanctions follow cyber incidents in the past year that have revealed the involvement of foreign actors, including the hack of Sony Pictures that the White House attributed to North Korea.

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