April 3, 2015
A new executive order signed by President Obama earlier this week aims to warn off foreign online hackers from targeting the United States. The order authorizes severe consequences to the individual or foreign party determined to be involved with any attack that may compromise the security, foreign policy, economic health, and financial stability of the U.S. Any violations of the policy could result in both financial and travel sanctions as regulated by the federal government.
“Cyberthreats pose one of the most serious economic and national security challenges to the United States,” said President Obama. “These threats can emanate from a range of sources and target our critical infrastructure, our companies and our citizens.”
Only a few months ago, a group of hackers, which the government later identified as being from North Korea, staged a devastating attack on a major Hollywood movie studio. In response, the Obama administration issued “economic sanctions on North Korea officials and a North Korean agency,” using an order previously in place, The New York Times reports.
The new order is said to expand Obama’s options. “The government could penalize [offenders] by freezing assets in the United States, barring Americans from doing business with them and blocking them from entering the country. They would be cut off from American goods and technology,” notes NYT.
The Obama administration claims to have no immediate targets, despite previous cases involving Russia and China. “The imposition of sanctions… is a delicate move that risks shutting off help from a foreign government in tracking down targets on its soil,” adds NYT.