On December 31, 2015, the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued new Cyber-Related Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 578 (the Cyber Sanctions Regulations ).

The Cyber Sanctions Regulations were issued to implement Executive Order 13694 of April 1, 2015 (''Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities'').   In that executive order, President Obama declared a national emergency based upon a finding that:

the increasing prevalence and severity of malicious cyber-enabled activities originating from, or directed by persons located, in whole or in substantial part, outside the United States constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.

The Cyber Sanctions Regulations require US citizens and companies to block the property and interests in property of individuals and entities designated as US Specially Designated Nationals with the new identifier "[CYBER]".

The Cyber Sanctions Regulations were published in abbreviated form for the purpose of providing immediate guidance to the public.  OFAC intends to supplement the new regulations with more comprehensive regulations, which may include additional interpretive and definitional guidance, including regarding ''cyber-enabled'' activities, and additional general licenses and statements of licensing policy.  No timetable was provided for release of the comprehensive cyber sanctions regulations.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.