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US to bring sanctions against hacker nations

The last year has revealed a lot of stories of nefarious hacking, with a good number of them seemingly sponsored by one nation or another. More often than not too, those actions – like the one against Sony – target US facilities and companies, which is why, despite its own efforts in that area, US President Obama has declared that he will begin issuing sanctions against countries who’s state sponsored hackers attack US interests.

This was announced yesterday as an executive order, with Obama suggesting that hacking was a “national emergency,” according to Reuters. This will grant the administration and its various branches the go ahead to deliver the same sanctions against nations linked with hacking US companies and organisations, as have been levied against the likes of Russia for its shenanigans in Ukraine.

The interesting part of the move will be whether the US makes use of its new found abilities though. While there are plenty of countries that have attacked the US within the past 12 months – most notably North Korea, Russia and China – this may merely be a move by Obama to scare off any further actions by foreign governments.

hackers
Hack the planet yo.

Whether the sanctions will be used or not though, the new executive order has proved popular with US industry, which has struggled to deal with the aggressions of outside sources in recent months. The only downside they claim, is that it can often be difficult to pin point who is responsible for any one hack, as the perpetrators don’t usually leave much in the way of evidence.

Some have shown concern however that the broad sweeping language of Obama’s order would theoretically allow the government to levy the same sort of sanctions against companies and entities within the US, potentially leading to extreme penalties for those caught performing DDOS attacks against US websites for example.

KitGuru Says: When there’s vague language involved, it usually means there’s a different aim in mind beyond that of the stated one. I wonder if this sanctioning is designed to threaten domestic hackers, just as much as it is those operating abroad.

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