Britain sanctions seven Russians over cyber crime

FILE PHOTO: A hooded man holds a laptop computer as cyber code is projected on him in this illustration picture taken on May 13, 2017. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Illustration/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) -Britain said on Thursday it had sanctioned seven Russians over cyber crime in co-ordinated action with the United States, as the pair seek to crack down on those they blame for ransomware attacks which have paralysed businesses, schools and hospitals.

Britain's Foreign Office said there had been 149 victims of ransomware known as Conti and Ryuk in Britain and that the cyber criminals had used the attacks to gain an estimated 27 million pounds ($32.85 million) from those targeted.

Foreign Minister James Cleverly said the new sanctions helped put Britain's national security first and would protect people from serious organised crime.

"By sanctioning these cyber criminals, we are sending a clear signal to them and others involved in ransomware that they will be held to account," he said in a statement.

($1 = 0.8218 pounds)

(Reporting by Muvija M, writing by Sarah Young; editing by William James)

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