US Will Attack Cybercriminals First and Ask questions later
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The US will attack cybercriminals first and ask questions later, under the new policies by the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) as a pre-emptive action against cyber threats.

Lisa O. Monaco, Deputy attorney general in a speech last week at the Munich Cyber Security Conference, said that the policy will see prosecutors, agents and analysts assess “whether to use disruptive actions against cyber threats, even if they might otherwise tip the cybercriminals off and jeopardize the potential for charges and arrests.”

She further added, “providing decryptor keys or seizing servers used to further cyberattacks” as possible interventions. These actions may lead to reduced risks for victims according to the DoJ.

Her suggestions included imposing sanctions and export controls when required and not just that the DoJ or even the US can wield. According to her, their international and private partners can weigh in, and “DoJ should work at US Cyber Command and elsewhere, to achieve unity of purpose and unity of action.”

Further adding their priority will be to charge and apprehend cybercriminals, though they need to take a different approach when required, “when threat actors seek safe haven in rogue countries or work on behalf of a foreign government.”

It is rare that cyber investigations have an international dimension, hence prosecutors handling significant cyber investigations will henceforth be required to consult with DoJ’s international and cybercrime specialists “to identify international actions that might be able to help stop a threat,” according to Monaco. 

Monaco explained a new International Virtual Currency Initiative to facilitate “more joint international law enforcement operations – more eyes from multiple law enforcement agencies around the world – to track money through the blockchain.” This will require the initiative staff to get some education about financial regulations and anti-money laundering requirements, in the hope of would-be abusers, stay on the right side of the law.

Virtual Asset Exploitation Unit (VAXU) will combine cryptocurrency experts into one nerve center that can provide equipment, blockchain analysis, virtual asset seizure, and training to the rest of the FBI said Monaco. It will work together with the FBI’s existing National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team formed in late 2021. Earlier last week Eun Young Choi was appointed its first director, who Monaco described as “a seasoned computer crimes prosecutor and a leader in the field.”

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