DOJ ups the ante in cyber warfare by inaugurating dedicated cybercrime unit


The US DOJ has announced the establishment of a new cyber-focused section, known as the National Security Cyber Section within its National Security Division to tackle a wide range of digital crimes.

According to the Assistant Attorney General for National Security, Matt Olsen, this new initiative will place cyber threats on “equal footing” with other significant national security issues such as counterterrorism and counterintelligence.

This development comes amid escalating concerns regarding cyberattacks, particularly those originating from China and Russia. The NatSec Cyber section will bolster the DOJ’s capacity to disrupt campaigns and prosecutions swiftly and on a larger scale against nation-state cyber threats, state-sponsored cybercriminals, money launderers, and other cyber-enabled threats to national security.

The establishment of NatSec Cyber follows a lengthy period of preparation and is part of the Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco’s Comprehensive Cyber Review in July 2022. This review was designed to scrutinise the DOJ’s handling of cyber-related matters and devise “actionable recommendations” to augment the Department’s efforts.

President Biden’s cybersecurity strategy, which stresses cross-agency collaboration in the fight against cybercrime, is echoed in this development. The DOJ has taken a more proactive approach in recent years, particularly through cyber-related prosecutions, even when these actions preclude conventional prosecutions and convictions.

NatSec Cyber’s introduction will “give us the horsepower and organisational structure we need to carry out key roles of the Department in this arena,” Matt Olsen said. He further explained that “NatSec Cyber prosecutors will be positioned to act quickly, as soon as the FBI or an IC partner identifies a cyber-enabled threat and to support investigations and disruptions from the earliest stages.”

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