US Justice Department Launches New National Security Cyber Section

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The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced the establishment of the National Security Cyber Section, also known as NatSec Cyber, within its National Security Division (NSD).

The creation of this new litigating section follows the comprehensive findings of Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco’s Comprehensive Cyber Review conducted in July 2022.

Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department's National Security Division emphasized the significance of NatSec Cyber.

“NatSec Cyber will give us the horsepower and organizational structure we need to carry out key roles of the Department in this arena,” he said.

“This new section will allow NSD to increase the scale and speed of disruption campaigns and prosecutions of nation-state threat actors, state-sponsored cybercriminals, associated money launderers, and other cyber-enabled threats to national security.”

The primary objective of the National Security Cyber Section is to enhance the Justice Department’s capacity to counter malicious cyber activities effectively.

By fostering partnerships both within the DOJ and across the government, the section aims to address the growing sophistication and aggression of cyber-threats posed by hostile nation-state adversaries.

Collaboration between key partners, including the FBI’s Cyber Division and the Criminal Division’s Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property Section, will reportedly be crucial in achieving these goals.

“Responding to highly technical cyber-threats often requires significant time and resources,” Olsen added. “NatSec Cyber will serve as an incubator, able to invest in the time-intensive and complex investigative work for early-stage cases.”

According to SafeBreach CISO, Avishai Avivi, the NatSec Cyber launch is a strong positive signal to the security industry and the broader internet community.

“The notion that sometimes the best defense is a good offense is a recognized principle of war. This initiative represents a new, more concerted effort to engage the malicious actors on their turf,” Avivi explained.

“This initiative is yet another important step in the execution of the administration’s National Cybersecurity Strategy.”

Read more on the strategy: White House Shifts US Cybersecurity Strategy Towards International Cooperation

Roger Grimes, a data-driven defense evangelist at KnowBe4, echoed Avivi’s point, adding that having more legal assistance will significantly increase the industry’s ability to mitigate and prosecute hackers and malware.

“It takes expertise, aggressiveness, and the ability to work as an agile team to pull it off, especially between international jurisdictions, many of which won't be cooperating.”

The establishment of NatSec Cyber comes after the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) urged international collaboration to build cyber resilience.

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