DoJ Forms Cryptocurrency Crime ‘Enforcement Team’

The Department of Justice will soon have two new tools on its belt to combat cybercrime. A cryptocurrency enforcement team will go after cybercrime while a separate department will go after those who fail to report such crimes.

On Oct 6, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced that a National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team had been created during the Aspen Cyber Summit. The team will primarily focus on criminals who target cryptocurrency marketplaces and utilize digital currency to commit crimes such as money laundering and drug sales.

The team is one of two initiatives targeting digital assets that the Justice Department announced with the second requiring contractors to report cyber breaches immediately. 

DoJ fighting back against criminals using crypto

According to Monaco, the team was conceived of with the goal to make the Justice Departments’ ability to shut down supermarkets that host cybercriminals. The team will use tactics from both anti-money laundering experts and cybersecurity gurus in order to help make crypto safe for the masses. “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,” Monaco said. She added that the whole idea of the initiative is to protect those who invest or will invest in crypto. 

During the same talk, Monaco announced that a civil cyber fraud initiative would also be created. The group will utilize civil enforcement tools to monitor any companies who, as government contractors, receive federal funding on some level. The companies will be required to follow federal standards pertaining to cybersecurity. Monaco believes that companies have stayed mum in regards to hiding possible breaches that could leave the US and its citizens exposed to cybercrime.

“For too long, companies have chosen silence under the mistaken belief that it’s less risky to hide a breach than to bring it forward and report it. That changes today,” pledged Monaco. Companies who fail to abide by these rules will be hit with “hefty fines” under the False Claims Act, according to the DoJ. 

These initiatives were announced in the wake of a number of high-profile and high-dollar cyberattacks against the United States. The most significant of those attacks might be one that targeted Colonial Pipeline in May. The attack caused local gas shortages up and down the East Coast and led to specific cybersecurity rules for pipeline owners.

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