The Biden Justice Department announced this week that it will sue government contractors and companies that receive federal grants if they do not report cybersecurity breaches.
Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco said Wednesday that the False Claims Act permits the DOJ to bring civil litigation against entities that misuse federal funds.
“For too long, companies have chosen silence under the mistaken belief that it is less risky to hide a breach than to bring it forward and to report it,” Ms. Monaco said.
She unveiled the new “Civil Cyber-Fraud Initiative” during the Aspen Institute’s annual Cyber Summit and said that it stems from the department’s ongoing review of cyber policies.
Ms. Monaco also announced that the DOJ is launching a National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team to target ransomware gangs and “dismantle” the financial platforms they use.
The actions come amid an uptick in ransomware attacks this year that have impacted important infrastructure and large corporations, including hospitals, police departments, a major fuel pipeline and a meat processor.