President Obama signed an executive order Friday levying new sanctions against North Korea for their suspected involvement in the massive cyberattack against Sony last year. “The E.O. authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to impose sanctions on individuals and entities associated with the Government of North Korea,” said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, in a statement. “We take seriously North Korea’s attack that aimed to create destructive financial effects on a U.S. company and to threaten artists and other individuals with the goal of restricting their right to free expression.”
The new sanctions prohibit three North Korean agencies and 10 individuals from accessing U.S. financial institutions. Additional organizations and North Korean individuals could be added to the list soon.
“As the President has said, our response to North Korea’s attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment will be proportional, and will take place at a time and in a manner of our choosing,” the statement said. “Today’s actions are the first aspect of our response.”
The FBI has maintained that North Korea is responsible for the breach of Sony’s computers, which led to embarrassing leaks, the unlawful publication of personal information as well as proprietary content, and the near derailment of The Interview, the comedy that supposedly caused the furor because of its unflattering depiction of North Korean strongman, Kim Jong-un.
Sanctions are nothing new for North Korea. The U.S. and United Nations have issued several against the rogue state in recent years, mostly related to their illicit nuclear weapons program.