Cyber attackers worldwide could now face EU sanctions, thanks to a new regime pushed for by the UK and its partners.
The new sanctions regime, which was signed off today (17 May) in Brussels, sends a clear message to hostile actors everywhere that the UK, and the EU, will impose tough consequences for cyber-attacks.
It comes weeks after the government unveiled plans to introduce new cybersecurity laws on internet-connected devices, as authorities gear up for the increased threat of cyber attacks to everyday products such as smart TVs, toys and kitchen appliances.
Over the last two years, we have seen a significant increase in the scale and severity of malicious cyber activity globally. The UK has been clear that it will not tolerate malicious cyber activity of this nature.
The UK, alongside a coalition of Member States, has been at the forefront of driving the new approach forward.
The sanctions regime will involve travel bans and asset freezes against those we know have been responsible for these actions.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:
This is decisive action to deter future cyber-attacks. For too long now, hostile actors have been threatening the EU’s security through disrupting critical infrastructure, attempts to undermine democracy and stealing commercial secrets and money running to billions of Euros. We must now look to impose travel bans and asset freezes against those we know have been responsible for this.
The UK and its allies have been unafraid to call out those who have conducted cyber-attacks with the intent to damage and destroy our institutions and societies. But we have been clear that more must be done to deter future attacks by hostile state and non-state actors.
Our message to governments, regimes and criminal gangs prepared to carry out cyber-attacks is clear: together, the international community will take all necessary steps to uphold the rule of law and the rules based international system which keeps our societies safe.