The U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday announced the launching of the National Security Cyber Section, which will be dedicated to cracking down on state-sponsored hacking. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
June 21 (UPI) -- The U.S. Justice Department has launched a new unit within its National Security Division dedicated to cracking down on state-sponsored hackers amid an increase in attacks by China, Russia, Iran and North Korea.
The National Security Cyber Section, called NatSec Cyber, for short, was announced Tuesday by Assistant Attorney General Matt Olsen who said it will place the Justice Department's work to combat national security cyber threats on equal footing with its counterterrorism and counterintelligence and export control sections.
"NatSex Cyber will give us the horsepower and organizational structure we need to carry out key roles of the department in this arena," Olsen said in a statement, adding that prosecutors in this newly launched sector "will be positioned to act quickly, as soon as the FBI or an IC partner identifies a cyber-enabled threat and to support investigations and disruptions from the earliest stages."
Olsen explained that via the new unit the NSD will be able to increase the scale and speed of its abilities to disrupt campaigns and prosecute nation-state cybercriminals, associated money launderers and other cyber threats to national security.
The announcement follows Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco in May 2021 directing a review of the department's cyber-related activities. Its creation also comes amid growing concerns over the threat posed to national security by state-sponsored hackers.
China, North Korea and Russia have been accused of being behind several recent cyberattacks against the United States.
On Thursday, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said multiple federal agencies were victimized by Russian hackers.
Earlier this month, the United States and South Korea issued a joint cybersecurity advisory about a North Korean hacker group accused of having stolen technology used in Pyongyang's recent failed launch of a spy satellite.
The Five Eyes intelligence alliance of Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and the United States in late May warned that they had discovered U.S. infrastructure sectors were being spied on by Chinese state-sponsored hackers.
Olsen added that the new Justice Department unit will also serve as an "incubator" as responding to highly technical cyber threats requires significant time and resources," Olsen said.
"Here's the bottom line: Cybersecurity is a matter of national security," Olsen said.
"Our cyberadversaries are innovative and constantly adjusting their tactics to hide from our investigators and to overcome our network defenders. NSD is committed to matching our adversaries by adjusting our tactics and organization to bring all of our tools, authorities and expertise to this fight."