Justice Department establishes program to train prosecutors to handle cyber cases

Justice Department establishes program to train prosecutors to handle cyber cases

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco on Friday announced the establishment of a fellowship program at the Justice Department to help train future prosecutors and attorneys in how to handle cases involving cybersecurity concerns.

The Cyber Fellowship Program will be a three-year course run through the Justice Department’s Criminal Division that is aimed at training attorneys to handle and prosecute a variety of cybersecurity-related cases. 

These include cases involving state-sponsored cybersecurity threats, ransomware attacks, the use of cryptocurrency in relation to cyberattacks, and other related issues.

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“As we have witnessed this past year, cyber threats pose a significant and increasing risk to our national security, our economic security, and our personal security,” Monaco said in a statement Friday. “We need to develop the next generation of prosecutors with the training and experience necessary to combat the next generation of cyber threats.

“This Fellowship gives attorneys a unique opportunity to gain the well-rounded experience they need to tackle the full range of those threats,” she added.

The establishment of the program grew out of the comprehensive cybersecurity review ordered by Monaco after she was confirmed into her position earlier this year, which aims to put out cybersecurity recommendations for the Justice Department within 120 days. 

The Justice Department has already taken action this year to prioritize cybersecurity, establishing a Ransomware and Digital Extortion Taskforce in April made of officials from the agency’s National Security Division, Criminal Division, Civil Division, Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys and FBI. 

It is tasked with creating and implementing a strategy to tackle ransomware attacks, which have massively increased this year, and have included the attacks on Colonial Pipeline and meat producer JBS USA in May.

The new cybersecurity fellowship will be based in Washington, D.C. and will require participants to have Top Secret security clearance.