US Department of Justice’s New Cybercrime Initiatives Focus on International Cooperation
Speaking at the Munich Cyber Security Conference, Deputy US Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced several new Department of Justice (DoJ) cybercrime initiatives, including an FBI unit that will focus of crime related to cryptocurrency. The Virtual Asset Exploitation Unit will work closely with the DoJ’s National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET). In addition, the DoJ is launching an International Virtual Currency Initiative as well as establishing the post of Cyber Operations International Liaison, who will be embedded in Europe “to work with U.S. prosecutors and European partners.” Monaco also noted that “prosecutors handling significant cyber investigations will now be required to consult with the department’s international and cybercrime specialists to identify international actions that might be able to help stop a threat. International cooperation will not be an afterthought.”
As the Attorney General noted “.. it’s the rare cyber investigation that doesn’t have an international dimension.” It is good to see the US is back being involved in international cybersecurity efforts. Also, good to see they will take advantage of the ability to disrupt cybercrime in-process vs. only monitor and prosecute after damage has occurred. On the downside, the AG mentioned numerous task forces, like the Ransomware and Digital Extortion task force. Rather than chase the threat o’ the year, it would be much more effective to have one big “Force” and use something like the Mitre ATT&CK Framework to prioritize “Tasks.”
Inter-agency cooperation is key to thwarting modern threat actors. Tracking cryptocurrency requires added data and correlation of data collected from multiple sources and actions. Not only do transactions need to be tracked, but also wallets mapped to their owner.