An executive order announced Wednesday authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of State and Attorney General to impose sanctions on cyberattackers hacking into the networks of US companies or government agencies.
The White House aims to make it hard for hackers to profit from stolen information. After identifying the people behind a cyberattack — which could be an individual, company or even a country — the US could impose sanctions that would prevent US companies from doing business with them. Individuals would also be banned from traveling to the United States.
The executive order comes in the wake of massive attacks that targeted dozens of companies and millions of people across the US. Major hacks reported over the last year include those on retail giant Target in which hackers stole credit card data for more than 110 million customers.
One of the most notable breaches was last November’s incursion at Sony Pictures, which revealed private e-mails among Sony executives and inside details on upcoming films. The hack is believed to have been politically motivated in reaction to the impending release of “The Interview,” a comedy that featured an assassination plot on North Korea leader Kim Jong-un. The FBI has said that North Korea was behind the attack, but the country has denied any involvement.
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