EU slaps sanctions on Russian and Chinese 'cyber attackers'

WION Web Team Brussels, Belgium Jul 30, 2020, 08.59 PM(IST)

Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin Photograph:( Reuters )

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The member states said measures would be taken against six individuals and three entities involved in various actions, including the attempt to hack into the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

The European Union imposed its first ever sanctions against alleged cyber attackers on Thursday, targeting Russian and Chinese individuals and a specialist unit of Moscow's GRU military intelligence agency.

The member states said measures would be taken against six individuals and three entities involved in various actions, including the attempt to hack into the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Thousands of Russian and Chinese-linked social media accounts have launched a coordinated effort to spread alarm about the new coronavirus, disrupting global efforts to fight the epidemic according to Fernando Arias, the head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

The accounts, run by humans, not bots, post at similar times in English, Spanish, Italian, German and French and can be linked back to Russian proxies, or carry similar messages to Chinese-backed outlets like Xinhua and Russian-backed outlets such as RT and Sputnik, he added.

The disinformation campaign was identified by US monitors in mid-January after Chinese officials announced a third death from the new coronavirus in Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak.