At a DOJ Cybersecurity Roundtable, Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco highlighted the national security threats posed by cyber attacks. She underscored the necessity of greater cooperation between the DOJ and private industry.

Ms. Monaco warned that the new cyber threat landscape is more aggressive, sophisticated and belligerent in terms of what bad actors can accomplish, and noted the "brazenness" and the "broad" scope of the cyber threats as well as the complicity of Russia and China in providing a safe harbor for cybercriminals. She characterized the increasing nation-state cyber threats as "geopolitical one-ups-man-ship," singling out Russia, China, North Korea and Iran as significant contributors.

Ms. Monaco also highlighted DOJ initiatives to combat these threats, including the launch of a Comprehensive Cyber Review, the Ransomware and Digital Extortion Task Force, and the new National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team and Civil Cyber-Fraud Initiative.

Ms. Monaco called upon industry attorneys to engage with the DOJ concerning the impediments their clients face in coming forward and working with law enforcement. She urged more reporting of ransomware attacks to the DOJ. She acknowledged the potential reputational and operational risks, but said that the DOJ needs "that engagement from victim companies and we need it early." Ms. Monaco argued further, that companies that engage with the DOJ will see a determination to bring "authorities to bear" and will benefit in that the DOJ can make arrests, hold people accountable, get money back and retrieve "keys" to return to victims.

Ms. Monaco noted that all 93 U.S. Attorney's Offices received a directive to report any ransomware events that occur in their districts, giving the DOJ a "heightened level of awareness and national picture reporting when it comes to ransomware."

Primary Sources

  1. DOJ Speech, Lisa O. Monaco: Opening Remarks at the Criminal Division's Cybersecurity Roundtable on 'The Evolving Cyber Threat Landscape'

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.