Obama authorizes sanctions to combat cyberattacks against US

Updated 01 April 2015

Obama authorizes sanctions to combat cyberattacks against US

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama on Wednesday authorized imposing economic sanctions on US and foreign hackers, allowing the government to block the assets of persons involved in cyberattacks on US targets.
“Starting today, we’re giving notice to those who pose significant threats to our security or economy by damaging our critical infrastructure, disrupting or hijacking our computer networks, or stealing the trade secrets of American companies or the personal information of American citizens for profit,” Obama said in a blog post released by the White House.
He added that cyber threats “pose one of the most serious economic and national security challenges to the United States,” and that the sanctions will take aim both at hackers and “against companies that knowingly use stolen trade secrets to undermine our nation’s economic health.”
Obama said in his statement that hackers in China, Russia and Iran were among those attacking US targets and added that “it’s often hard to go after bad actors, in part because of weak or poorly enforced foreign laws, or because some governments are either unwilling or unable to crack down on those responsible.”
The announcement of the new sanctions program comes amid an epidemic of incidents reported in recent months, including a devastating cybertattack against Sony Pictures, and data breaches that stole credit card or health data on tens of millions of Americans.
Under the order, the US Treasury would be able to freeze or block assets of those involved in attacks on “critical” US computer networks, such as banking systems or electic power, or the theft of data such as credit card information, and of companies that profit from such attacks.
“Cyber intrusions and attacks — many of them originating overseas — are targeting our businesses, stealing trade secrets, and costing American jobs. Iranian hackers have targeted American banks,” Obama said. “The North Korean cybertattack on Sony Pictures destroyed data and disabled thousands of computers. In other recent breaches that have made headlines, more than 100 million Americans had their personal data compromised, including credit card and medical information.”
Obama said he would “employ the authorities of my office and this administration, including diplomatic engagement, trade policy tools, and law enforcement mechanisms, to counter the threat posed by malicious cyber actors.” The executive order allows the Treasury and Attorney General’s office to impose sanctions on hackers posing “a significant threat to the national security, foreign policy, or economic health or financial stability of the United States.”


Protests in New Delhi against India’s citizenship law ahead of Trump visit

Updated 23 February 2020

Protests in New Delhi against India’s citizenship law ahead of Trump visit

  • Hundreds of people supporting the new law clashed with those opposing it
  • The protest comes just a day before US President Donald Trump begins a two-day visit to India

NEW DELHI: Police used tear gas to disperse large crowds in India’s capital of New Delhi on Sunday in the latest eruption of violence at protests over a new citizenship law, police officials said.
Hundreds of people supporting the new law clashed with those opposing it, with the two groups pelting each other with stones in the Maujpur area in the northeastern part of the city, according to television footage.
“There must be some miscreants who want to spoil the peace in the area. We will identify them and take action against them,” Alok Kumar, a senior Delhi police official, told reporters about the protest.
“The situation is under control now,” he added.
The protest comes just a day before US President Donald Trump begins a two-day visit to India, where he is expected to raise the issue of religious freedom in the country with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
India’s Citizenship Amendment Act, which eases the path for non-Muslims from neighboring Muslim-majority nations to gain citizenship, has triggered weeks of sometimes violent protests against Modi’s government.
The Indian law is seen by opponents as discriminating against Muslims and has deepened concerns that Modi’s administration is undermining India’s secular traditions.
Modi’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party denies any bias against the country’s 180 million Muslims.
On Sunday, a separate protest also erupted in the northern Indian city of Aligarh, where protesters threw stones at the police, state administration official Chandra Bhushan Singh said.
The Internet in the area had been suspended until midnight, he added.