DOJ Vows To Prioritize Ransomware Investigations

DOJ Vows To Prioritize Ransomware Investigations

June 03, 2021 at 10:39PM

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is prioritizing investigations into ransomware, Reuters reported.

This follows the Colonial Pipeline hack, which jeopardized gasoline transport for several days, along with other cyberattacks that have caused damage.

John Carlin, principle associate deputy attorney general at the DOJ, told Reuters that there is a new task force in Washington looking into the problem.

He said there is a “specialized process” to track ransomware cases anywhere in the country, “so you can make the connections between actors and work your way up to disrupt the whole chain,” Reuters reported.

Reuters reported that some of the investigations that will need greater priority now include counter anti-virus services, illicit online forums or marketplaces, cryptocurrency exchanges, bulletproof hosting services, botnets and online money laundering services.

Internal guidance sent out to the U.S. attorney’s offices said officials have to “enhance and centralize our internal tracking” in order to make sure they can connect with national and global cases to create comprehensive pictures of the various threats faced, according to Reuters.

The fact that DOJ officials are moving quickly on the issue shows how important it is, Reuters reported.

“We’ve used this model around terrorism before but never with ransomware,” Carlin said, according to Reuters.

The new guidance means the U.S. attorney’s offices will likely have to share information like updated case details or active technical information with Washington officials, Reuters reported.

Business leaders, irked by the possibility of the attacks that interfere with how regular people live their lives, have called on officials to take on a huge response to the attackers.

Kevin Mandia, CEO of cybersecurity firm FireEye, told the audience at a WSJ Pro Cybersecurity Executive Forum: “Pharmaceuticals, hospitals, healthcare, public companies, organizations that don’t have the talent and skills to defend themselves — they’re getting sucker punched.”