The European Union (EU) has established a framework giving it powers to punish individuals outside the bloc who launch cyberattacks targeting hospitals and banks, those that influence elections, and those that steal company secrets or funds.
Going forward, the 28-nation alliance will be able to impose asset freezes and travel bans on individuals, firms, and state bodies implicated in such cyberattacks.
In addition, sanctions will be considered if a cyberattack is determined to have had a "significant impact" on its target.
In terms of sanctions, the 28 EU countries would have to vote unanimously to impose sanctions after meeting a legal threshold of significant impact.
The goal of the new powers is to strengthen the security of EU institutions, firms, and individuals against an increase in the "scale and severity" of cyberattacks around the world.
Said British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, "Together, the international community will take all necessary steps to uphold the rule of law and the rules-based international system which keeps our societies safe."
From Agence France-Presse
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