The Justice Department will elevate ransomware investigations to a similar level of priority as terrorism in an effort to defeat cybercriminals posing a threat to the nation.
This comes following several recent cyberattacks that crippled infrastructure and paralyzed crucial industries in the United States. In one of those attacks, a cyber criminal group perpetrated a ransomware hack against the Colonial Pipeline, which halted fuel operations resulting in gas shortages across several states.
The department said they have recently created task force in Washington that will coordinate all ransomware investigations currently handled by U.S. attorney's offices across the nation.
Reuters, who reviewed the internal guidance about the new direction, reported that the centralized tracking of the investigations will help the federal authorities to build a "comprehensive picture of the national and economic security threats we face" and draw necessary connections between separate attacks.
The model, the department said, has been used in terrorism cases but never before with ransomware, Carlin said. The guidance also asked U.S. attorneys to also share information about other cybersecurity cases such as ones involving in counter anti-virus services, illicit online forums or marketplaces, cryptocurrency exchanges, bulletproof hosting services, botnets and online money laundering services, the news wire reported.
"We really want to make sure prosecutors and criminal investigators report and are tracking ... cryptocurrency exchanges, illicit online forums or marketplaces where people are selling hacking tools, network access credentials—going after the botnets that serve multiple purposes," Carlin said.
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to The Epoch Times' request for comment.