Outgoing US President Barack Obama announced the range of measures against Russia on December 29 with just three weeks to go of his presidency, after concluding that allegations Russia meddled in the US presidential election process were true.
President Obama released a statement, which can be read in full via the link below:
Released at the same time was a joint report by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department for Homeland Security (DHS) which detailed the evidence investigators have been able to pin down about Russian hacking efforts.
Also released was a statement by the US Treasury announcing sanctions against two individuals "for malicious cyber enabled activities".
The two are Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev and Aleksey Alekseyevich Belan who have been singled out "for their activities related to the significant misappropriation of funds or economic resources, trade secrets, personal identifiers, or financial information for private financial gain."
Both are already on the FBI's most wanted list and have substantial bounties on their heads for information leading to their arrest.
Though Bogachev is well known as a superstar among hackers, the less well-known Belan was actually born in Riga on June 27, 1987 and on his FBI wanted poster is stated as being "Latvian" despite holding Russian citizenship.
He was already wanted for alleged crimes committed in 2012 and 2013 but to be named in connection with the hacking of the US presidential election process sees him stepping up to the major league of cyber criminals. He has a $100,000 bounty on his head for information leading to his arrest. Bogachev has a $3 million price tag.
"Aleksey Alekseyevich Belan engaged in the significant malicious cyber-enabled misappropriation of personal identifiers for private financial gain. Belan compromised the computer networks of at least three major United States-based e-commerce companies. Belan used his unauthorized access on the e-commerce company networks to steal user data, including email addresses, customer names, and encrypted passwords, belonging to approximately 200 million accounts worldwide. Belan actively engaged in successful efforts to sell the stolen information for private financial gain," the Treasury information states - though no details are given of any involvement with election-related cyber activities.
“The integrity and stability of our electronic systems are of utmost importance to our national security and we will hold accountable those who seek to compromise or tamper with those systems,” said Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew.
Anyone with information about Belan's or Bogachev's current whereabouts is asked by the FBI to contact their nearest US Embassy.
Nor is Belan the only Latvia-born hacking suspect on the FBI's infamous most wanted list. Also making the top ten cyber criminal list is Peteris Sahurovs, a Latvian citizen from Rezekne in the east of the country.
"On May 17, 2011, Sahurovs was indicted by a Federal Grand Jury in the United States District Court, District of Minnesota, for wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and unauthorized access to a protected computer. The same day, a federal warrant was issued for Sahurovs' arrest," the FBI says.
Sahurovs has a more modest bounty of $50,000 on his head.