Cryptocurrency has increasingly become an accepted form of financial exchange. However, it has also become a favored form of payment for cyber criminals.
In an effort to deter the use of cryptocurrencies in furtherance of criminal activity, the Federal Bureau of Investigation recently announced the formation of a Virtual Asset Exploitation Unit (VAXU). The VAXU will combine various investigatory, technical, and analytical resources, and the unit is charged with tracking the illicit use of cryptocurrencies and assisting in their seizure. This announcement follows close on the heels of the recent U.S. Department of Justice appointment of veteran federal prosecutor Eun Young Choi as the first director of the newly-created National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET).
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On January 11, 2022, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the National Security Agency (NSA) issued a joint advisory, warning of an increasing cybersecurity threat posed by Russian state-backed threat actors to U.S. critical infrastructure.
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As COVID-19 vaccine approvals and eventual distribution kicks into high gear, there has been a corresponding – and not particularly surprising – increase in cyber threat activity targeting both vaccine producers and other companies involved in the vaccine distribution chain. Most notably, “cold chain” companies responsible for safely storing and transporting the vaccines have been targeted. The problem has become so severe that both the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) recently issued a joint security alert on December 3, 2020 highlighting the risk to the coronavirus vaccine distribution chain.
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The Attorney General’s Cyber-Digital Task Force has released its first report, which provides a detailed assessment of the cyber threats facing the United States and discusses the ways the Department of Justice (DOJ) is combatting and preparing to combat those threats.
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