US slaps Russia with more sanctions

World Today

Washington has expanded its list of Russian organizations and individuals subject to U.S. sanctions. Meanwhile, Microsoft said it has identified attempts by Russian hackers to target U.S. political organizations. CGTN’s Daniel Ryntjes reports.

The U.S. Treasury Department announced additional sanctions against two Russian shipping companies it suspects of transferring petroleum products to vessels operated by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

In a separate action, the Treasury Department targeted two Russian individuals and two other companies for sanctions, accusing them of trying to circumvent sanctions imposed in June. That was in response to U.S. findings of Russian cyberattacks, which Russia denies.

The new targets are all accused of working in coordination with a firm with ties to Russia’s Federal Security Service, or FSB.

And, on the topic of alleged Russian cyber threats, there’s another development. Microsoft has announced that it obtained a court order and successfully blocked six fake internet domains.

Those domains appear to have been set up to mimic sites run by right-leaning political organizations in the U.S. They include a political research organization strongly supported by a prominent Kremlin critic, Senator John McCain.

There were also fake sites set up to look like a U.S. Senate site and even a Microsoft website. The apparent strategy is to fool people into thinking the sites are real and getting them to enter their username and passwords, which are then obtained by the hackers.

Microsoft said it prevented these sites from going live and said the hacking attempts were created by a group associated with the Russian government, known either as Strontium, Fancy Bear or APT28.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said no proof has been provided and Moscow does not understand how Microsoft reached its conclusions.