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In Wake of Hack Attacks, Justice Department Creates Cybersecurity Unit

The growing threat of hackers and malware has prompted the U.S. Department of Justice to form a Cybersecurity Unit that specializes in prosecuting online crimes. Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell announced the new division on Thursday at the Cybercrime 2020 symposium in Washington, calling it part of "our evolving efforts to deter, investigate and prosecute cyber criminals." The DOJ already has a Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, but this new unit would be a more tightly focused effort. Caldwell cited recent cyberattacks such as retail and bank hacks, as well as the Cryptolocker malware that held files for ransom, as examples of the type of crime that would be targeted by the Cybersecurity Unit. She also attempted to allay concerns "that privacy and civil liberties are afterthoughts to criminal investigators," offering assurances that government prosecutors take privacy very seriously and in fact target purveyors of apps like StealthGenie that violate it. "It is important that we address cyber threats on multiple fronts, with both a robust enforcement strategy as well as a broad prevention strategy," Caldwell said.

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—Devin Coldewey