WASHINGTON, October 24. /TASS/. The United States has introduced sanctions against Russia’s Central Scientific Research Institute of Chemistry and Mechanics (TsNIIKhM), the website of the US Department of the Treasury reported on Friday.
According to their data, the restrictions were introduced within the framework of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), a United States federal law. According to the US authorities, the Institute is "connected to the destructive Triton malware" which "was designed specifically to target and manipulate industrial safety systems". Such systems allow the emergency shutdown of the equipment at an enterprise in case of a dangerous situation, however, this malware can hinder that. Due to this fact, the agency noted that the virus is considered to be "the most dangerous threat activity publicly known".
Moscow has repeatedly refuted such allegations.
"The Russian Government continues to engage in dangerous cyber activities aimed at the United States and our allies," said US Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin. "This Administration will continue to aggressively defend the critical infrastructure of the United States from anyone attempting to disrupt it," he added.
Earlier, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Russia of continuing harmful and dangerous actions in cyberspace which threaten the security of the US and its allies. According to him, Washington will use all possible instruments in response, including sanctions.
According to the US authorities, the TsNIIKhM was allegedly responsible for "building customized tools that enabled the attack" on an unidentified petrochemical facility in the Middle East in 2017. And in 2019, hackers behind the development of the Triton malware allegedly studied possible loopholes in the security systems of 20 objects of the US electrical grid.
Inclusion in the sanctions list means asset freezing in the United States and the ban for US citizens or firms to engage in business with persons in the list.
On Thursday, October 22, Russian President Vladimir Putin in response to a question of an American political scientist within the framework of the Valdai Discussion Club reiterated that Russia doesn’t "meddle" in cyber sphere, and it has been proven by numerous investigations in the US. The Russian leader also offered to develop instruments of control over non-interference in internal affairs of states in cyberspace - immediately and without preconditions. He expressed hope that Washington will react to these proposals after the presidential election which is to be held in less than two weeks, on November 3. Russia is ready to discuss cooperation on ensuring international information security with all interested partners, should the US reject such a dialogue.