EU sanctions Russian hackers for 2015 Bundestag breach

The European Union imposed sanctions Thursday on two Russian intelligence officers and a unit of the military intelligence service GRU over their involvement in hacking the German parliament in 2015.

“The cyber-attack against the German federal parliament targeted the parliament’s information system and affected its operation for several days. A significant amount of data was stolen and email accounts of several MPs as well as of Chancellor Angela Merkel were affected,” the Council of the European Union said in its listing.

One of the targets is 29-year-old hacker Dmitry Badin, for whom German prosecutors issued an arrest warrant earlier this year. Badin is also on the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s wanted list for his involvement in the hacking of the 2016 presidential election.

The other individual targeted with travel bans and asset freezes is Igor Kostyukov, the head of the GRU who already faced EU sanctions since 2019 for his involvement in the nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal.

The EU also slapped sanctions on the GRU’s Unit 26165, better known as hacker group “Fancy Bear” or Advanced Persistent Threat 28.

POLITICO reported last week that the sanctions were coming.

Germany proposed the new sanctions before the summer after Chancellor Angela Merkel said in May the government had “hard evidence” that Russia was responsible for an “outrageous” cyberattack that breached parliamentary officials’ accounts.

It’s the second time ever the EU imposes sanctions on cyberattackers. Over the summer, countries agreed to impose travel bans and asset freezes on notorious Russian, Chinese and North Korean hacker groups behind large-scale cyberattacks on European countries and companies in past years.

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