Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced yesterday at the Aspen Institute Cyber Summit the creation of a new working group for the crypto space. The National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team will focus on crypto platforms used for illicit activities, targeting people who use the platforms for money laundering and cybercrime.
The Justice Department has already shown its dedication to the application in the crypto space by taking on the Darknet Helix-based Bitcoin mixing service in August. By taking the initiative and creating the execution team, Monaco said it hopes it can tackle the financial systems that have allowed threats in space to thrive.
“We want to strengthen our ability to dismantle the financial ecosystem that allows these criminal actors to thrive and – quite frankly – profit from what they do,” Monaco said. “We are going to do this by bringing in our cyber experts, our cyber prosecutors and our money laundering experts. “
Monaco argues that while the Justice Department has historically focused on protecting securities, it must evolve with technology as systems and industries enter the digital age. Monaco particularly wishes to scrutinize the exchanges, where a large part of the laundering takes place.
“Cryptocurrency exchanges want to be the banks of the future. We have to make sure that people can have confidence when using these systems, and we have to make sure that we are prepared to eliminate the abuses that can take hold of them.
Monaco’s Deputy Attorney General also announced the Civilian Cyber Fraud Initiative which would pursue actions against companies or government contractors who receive federal funds that fail to declare or meet cybersecurity standards in place. , as well as protecting whistleblowers who bring issues to light.
Monaco has long been an active participant and a key player in the field of cybersecurity. She was Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor under President Obama from 2013 to 2017, and she was a key government respondent to the ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline earlier this year; she was part of a task force that recovered millions of dollars in bitcoins from hackers.
“There is a shamelessness in the tactics and techniques of ransomware and digital extortion; they are not stealthy cat burglar-type actions, but really rash, more like the hostage taker or the terrorist laden with bombs, ”Monaco explained. “When we think about the types of ransomware attacks that we have seen and the impact they have on critical infrastructure and potentially life or death, the collateral consequences, which we have seen in some of these groups criminals is an apparent disinterest in these consequences. “
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