Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin walks outside of the West Wing of the White House. The Treasury Department released an advisory, warning companies hit by ransomware to not pay up to countries subject to U.S. sanctions. (Official White House Photo by Keegan Barber)

Companies hit by ransomware could find themselves in the crosshairs of the federal government if the group behind the attack is subject to economic sanctions, the Department of the Treasury warned in a new advisory.

Treasury’s Office of Assets Control notes that certain individuals or groups that use or develop ransomware strains – like Evil Corp, Lazarus Group and SamSam -- are subject to the office’s cyber-related sanctions program. Those sanctions make it illegal for most companies to directly or indirectly do business with or transfer money to individuals and entities on the list.

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