The head of the Department of Justice (DOJ) said it was creating two different cryptocurrency enforcement initiatives. The team will help the DOJ better protect consumers from online financial crime.
The U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced during a virtual speech at the Aspen Cyber Unit, according to a report on Reuters, that the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team will involve both money-laundering and cybersecurity experts. She said:
“We are today launching the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team. We won’t hesitate to go after laundering platforms and are drawing on cyber experts and prosecutors, and money laundering experts.”
Targeting ransomware attacks
Monaco said the team would engage with cryptocurrency exchanges and cryptocurrency projects. It will also target attackers that carry out ransomware campaigns—attacks that hold data hostage and demand crypto payment in return. The team will also target government contractors who do not follow security standards or report security breaches. She said:
“Cryptocurrency exchanges want to be the banks of the future; well, we need to make sure that folks can have confidence when they’re using these systems, and we need to be poised to root out abuse. The point is to protect consumers.”
Tackle cybercrime issues
Announcing the development, the Deputy Attorney General said the new civil cyber fraud initiative would “use civil enforcement tools to pursue companies, those who are government contractors, who receive federal funds when they fail to follow recommended cybersecurity standards.” She explained that “for too long, companies had chosen silence under the mistaken belief that it was less risky to hide a breach than to bring it forward and report it. That, she said, was coming to an end.
The DOJ’s initiative comes only one week following Joe Biden’s announcement that the U.S. was bringing together 30 countries this month to tackle cybercrime issues, including the “illicit use of cryptocurrencies.” Monaco herself is said to have led the effort that recovered $2.3 million worth of Bitcoin from the Colonial Pipeline hack earlier this year.
Cybercriminals often encrypt crucial files of businesses and hold the data for ransom until they are paid an amount in cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have favored hackers’ payment methods to skirt law enforcement, as ownership can be challenging to trace.
Tom is a long-serving freelance writer who specializes in the blockchain and cryptocurrency niche. You may even call him a crypto-enthusiast with over 10-years’ experience in content creation, blog writing, and SEO. He is a philosophical figurehead who believes that to make our world a better place, we must invest in incorruptible products and procedures, of which Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are leading examples.