US Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco on Wednesday unveiled two new Justice Department enforcement initiatives aimed at cryptocurrencies and government contractors who fail to report cyber breaches.
Ms. Monaco, during a virtual speech at the Aspen Cyber Summit on Wednesday, announced the launch of the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team, which will aim to “strengthen” the Justice Department’s ability to disable financial markets that allow cybercriminals ” allows it to flourish”.
The group will include a mix of anti-money laundering and cyber security experts.
“Cryptocurrency exchanges want to be the banks of the future, well we need to make sure that when people are using these systems there is trust in them and we need to be prepared to root out abuse, Ms Monaco said. “The point is to protect consumers.”
Cybercriminals who attack US companies with ransomware, a type of malware that encrypts systems and solicits payment, usually paid in cryptocurrencies. Hackers often use a mix of different cryptocurrency services to accept and transfer these payments, thereby helping to hide them from law enforcement.
It also announced the creation of a Citizens Cyber Fraud Initiative that will use “civil enforcement tools to advance companies that are government contractors who receive federal funding when they fail to comply with recommended cybersecurity standards.” fail.”
“For too long, companies have chosen to silence under the mistaken belief that it is less risky to hide a breach than to bring it forward and report it. That has changed today,” Ms. Monaco said.
The announcements come after several high-profile cyberattacks against US companies and government agencies earlier this year.
Cybercriminals attacked a major US pipeline operator, leading to a localized gas shortage along the US East Coast in May. The incident led to new cybersecurity rules for pipeline owners in July.