Washington: The US Treasury Department has announced sanctions against a dozen senior executives of Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab, one day after the Commerce Department banned the sale of its antivirus software in the US.

“Today’s action against the leadership of Kaspersky Lab underscores our commitment to ensure the integrity of our cyber domain and to protect our citizens against malicious cyber threats,” Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said on Friday when announcing the designations against 12 Kaspersky executives, including the company’s chief operating officer.

“The US will take action where necessary to hold accountable those who would seek to facilitate or otherwise enable these activities,” Nelson added.

Separately, State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement that “Kaspersky is subject to the jurisdiction, control, or direction of the

Russian government, which could exploit the privileged access to obtain sensitive data, including personal information, or bypass cybersecurity measures, thereby posing an unacceptable risk to US national security or the safety and security of US persons”.

The above announcements followed the Commerce Department’s decision on Thursday to ban the sale of Kaspersky’s antivirus software in the US.

“Kaspersky will generally no longer be able to, among other activities, sell its software within the US or provide updates to software already in use,” the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security said in a statement.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said the department’s first-of-its-kind action was in response to Russia’s repeated show of “capability and intent to exploit Russian companies, like Kaspersky Lab, to collect and weaponise sensitive US information”.

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