The Council of the EU on Monday extended a tool allowing the bloc to slap asset freezes and travel bans on foreign hackers, including those imposed on Russian, Chinese and North Korean state-backed groups last year.
National capitals “decided to prolong the framework for restrictive measures against cyber-attacks threatening the EU or its member states for another year, until 18 May 2022,” the Council said in a statement.
These so-called “cyber sanctions” are a measure countries have had at their disposal since May 2019 to try to deter hackers and respond to attacks against European targets.
The EU imposed its first-ever sanctions in response to cyberattacks in July 2020, targeting Russian, Chinese and North Korean hackers involved in major incidents in previous years, namely the NotPetya ransomware outbreak, Cloud Hopper supply chain hack and WannaCry ransomware attack.
In October 2020, the bloc imposed sanctions on two Russian intelligence officers and a unit of the GRU military intelligence services over their involvement in hacking the German parliament in 2015.