An executive order signed by President Barack Obama gives the United States government the go-ahead to sanction suspected cyber-criminals with financial and travel restrictions amid a wave of high-profile hacks.
Citing the surge of assaults against the computer networks of US entities in recent months, Pres. Obama said Wednesday that he has declared a “national emergency” and accordingly authorized the US Treasury Department to sanction suspected hackers operating abroad in an effort to discourage future cyber-assaults.
On the heels of attacks suffered by Sony Pictures Entertainment, Target and a seemingly ever-expanding list of other victims as of late, this Obama administration newest effort is intended to amplify the government’s ability to go after hackers and deter future online assaults that may otherwise have crippling effects. Coupled with the Department of Justice’s recent promise to ramp-up its ability to counter foreign cyber-criminals through the creation of a new threat integration center, the latest memo from the White House reveals yet another option in the administration’s growing toolkit with regards to its ability to tackle malicious actors who operate online. The language included in this week’s directive is already raising concerns, however, and could be broad enough to give the federal government unmatched new powers in the digital realm.