Top DOJ official predicting more arrests in crackdown on ransomware, cyber crime

Top DOJ official predicting more arrests in crackdown on ransomware, cyber crime
© Greg Nash

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said the U.S. should expect to see a crackdown on ransomware attacks and cyber crime as the Department of Justice (DOJ) ramps up its efforts in the area.

Monaco told The Associated Press during an interview this week that the U.S. is going to see an increase in arrests of  individuals and seizures of ransom payments linked to cyber crimes that have affected the country.

“In the days and the weeks to come, you're going to see more arrests, more seizures, and you're going to see more operations like we did last week,” Monaco said, referring to the extradition of an alleged Russian cyber criminal actor who was hiding in South Korea to face charges in the U.S.

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She said the message the Justice Department is trying to spread is that “if you come for us, we're gonna come for you.”

Monaco’s comments come after U.S. companies were targeted by crippling ransomware attacks in recent months.

Colonial Pipeline, a network that provides roughly 45 percent of the East Coast’s fuel, experienced a harmful cyberattack in May that shut down operations for several days.

The company ultimately paid the hackers nearly $5 million. In June, the DOJ recovered $2.3 million worth of cryptocurrency from the payment.

Asked about the frequency of ransomware attacks originating from Russia, Monaco said Justice Department officials “have not seen a material change in the landscape, only time will tell as to what Russia may do on this front.”

“But we're going to continue to do our work. We are not going to stop, we're going to continue to press forward to hold accountable those who seek to go after our industries, to hold our data hostage and threaten national security, economic security, personal security,” she added.