The European Union imposed its first-ever sanctions against alleged cyber attackers on Thursday, aiming at Russian and Chinese individuals and a specialist unit of Moscow's GRU military intelligence agency.

Iran Press/Europe: An export firm based in North Korea and a technology company from Tianjin, China, were also listed, reported by the Moscow Times.

The member states said measures would be taken against six individuals and three entities involved in various actions, including the attempt to hack into the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

The individuals will be banned from travel to the European Union and all the targets will be subject to an asset freeze for any funds in areas under EU jurisdiction.

In addition, the European Council of member states said: "EU persons and entities are forbidden from making funds available to those listed."

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the action had been taken "to better prevent, discourage, deter and respond to such malicious behavior in cyberspace."

These attacks, he said, represented "an external threat to the European Union or its member states" or had "a significant effect against third States or international organizations."

The best known of the targeted entities is the Main Center for Special Technologies, a unit of the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation — better known as the GRU.

This unit, based on Kirova Street in Moscow, is said to have carried out attacks known as NotPetya and EternalPetya in June 2017, hitting EU private companies with ransomware and blocking data.


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