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Rounds Introduces Iran Cyber Sanctions Act

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) today introduced the Iran Cyber Sanctions Act, which would require the president to submit a report to Congress detailing significant activities conducted by Iranians to undermine U.S. cybersecurity.

“Some of the most serious threats facing the United States today are cyber-attacks,” said Rounds. “Iran and our other enemies currently use sophisticated technology to carry out cyber-attacks against U.S. businesses and our government. By reporting and sanctioning perpetrators, we can stop additional cyber-attacks before they happen and identify where future threats may come from.”

The bill would also require the president to add any individual included in his report to Congress to the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Specially Designated Nationals List. When someone is added to this list, his or her assets within a U.S. jurisdiction are blocked from being accessed and U.S. individuals are prevented from doing business with listed individuals. If the president chooses to exempt an individual from the Specially Designated Nationals List, he must explain to Congress why he or she was not included.

Rounds’ legislation would require the president’s report to Congress to include:

  • The identity of individuals who have knowingly engaged in efforts to undermine U.S. cybersecurity.
  • A description of the conduct engaged by each person.
  • An assessment of the extent to which Iran or another foreign government has provided material support for significant activities undermining cybersecurity.
  • A strategy to counter efforts by Iranian individuals to conduct significant activities undermining cybersecurity.

On March 24, 2016, the U.S. Justice Department indicted 7 Iranian individuals, who were employed by two Iran-based computer companies, involved with a 2013 cyber-attack against the Bowman Avenue Dam in New York and a 2011 Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) campaign against the U.S. financial sector.

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