U.S. Slaps Sanctions on Two Israeli Firms, Citing Kremlin-ordered Cyberattacks

Treasury Department says the companies assisted Russia's government in carrying out cyberattacks against U.S. targets

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures while speaking during his news conference after the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit in Qingdao, China, June 10, 2018.
Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Treasury Department announced on Monday that it is placing sanctions on two companies based in Israel for allegedly engaging in cyberattacks in service of the Russian government. One of the companies, Embedi, has an office in Herzliya, while the other, ERPCSAN, has an office in Tel Aviv. Both companies also have offices in Russia

According to the Treasury Department, these companies assisted the Russian government in carrying out cyberattacks against various targets in the United States, including energy installations. The sanctions will lead to the freezing of all the companies' assets in the United States, and will make it illegal for American citizens to make business with those companies. 

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In addition to the two Israel-based companies, three other companies based in Russia were also placed under similar sanctions. The Treasury Department stated that these companies "directly contributed to improving Russia's cyber and capabilities," adding that these capabilities harm the safety of the United States and its allies around the world. 

This is the third time in recent weeks that cyber companies based in Israel have made headlines in Washington. Previously, it was reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating the involvement of an Israeli cyber company in the 2016 U.S. Election, and that investigators from Mueller's team have visited Tel Aviv and collected evidence. 

In addition, multiple reports last month stated that Black Cube, an Israeli private intelligence firm, tried to conduct a spying operation on former Obama administration officials who were involved in the crafting of the Iran nuclear deal. The company denied the allegations.