The U.S. Treasury Department and the United Kingdom have joined forces to impose sanctions on seven members of the Russia-based Trickbot cybercrime gang, marking a significant step in the fight against cybercrime. As the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine approaches, the Treasury has tightened its efforts to financially punish violators of existing sanctions.
Trickbot, named after a strain of Trojan viruses originally used to steal financial data, has caused widespread damage globally. These viruses have infected millions of computers and caused significant harm, including ransomware attacks on hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
According to the Treasury, the sanctioned individuals include developers, money-launderers, and Vitaly Kovalev, a senior figure who was indicted in connection with 2009 and 2010 bank hacks that predated his involvement with Trickbot. The U.S. statement also noted that current Trickbot members are associated with Russian intelligence services, but did not allege that the sanctioned individuals were working with these services.
These sanctions, called “historic” by the Treasury, are the first of their kind for the U.K. and are a result of a partnership between the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and several U.K. agencies aimed at disrupting Russian cybercrime.
In a separate action, the Treasury sanctioned nine entities in Iran, Malaysia, and Singapore for their role in shipping sanctioned Iranian oil to Asia. Six Iran-based petrochemical manufacturers, and three firms in Malaysia and Singapore involved in the sale and shipment of oil, were blocked from access to the U.S. financial system.
These recent sanctions on Iran are part of a broader trend of punishing firms that support the shipment of Iranian oil, and come as the Biden administration looks to bring Tehran back to the negotiating table for a return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Overall, these actions demonstrate the U.S. and U.K.’s commitment to disrupting the activities of cybercriminals and illegal actors and ensuring that they face financial consequences for their actions.