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Archive for June 8th, 2021

DOJ to Require Federal Agents to Wear Body Cams When Executive Raids, Serving Warrants

Body cams, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling

Federal agents serving arrest warrants or executing raids will soon be required to wear body cameras, according to a new Justice Department memo.

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco says in the memo that the new policy applies to ATF, FBI and U.S. Marshals, which have 30 days to submit plans governing the use of body cams. 

“Although the Department’s law enforcement components do not regularly conduct patrols or routinely engage with the public in response to emergency calls, there are circumstances where the Department’s agents encounter the public during pre-planned law enforcement operations,” Monaco wrote in the memo. “The Department is committed to the use of body-worn cameras (BWCs) by the Department’s law enforcement agents in such circumstances.

In October, the Justice Department began allowing local police to wear body cams while serving on federal task forces. 

The memo also states that U.S. attorneys should train prosecutors in the use of body cams as evidence. 

“I am proud of the job performed by the Department’s law enforcement agents, and I am confident that these policies will continue to engender the trust and confidence of the American people in the work of the Department of Justice,” Monaco wrote. 

DOJ Recovers $2.3M Worth of Cryptocurrency Paid in Ransom in Pipeline Hack

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department seized more than $2.3 million worth of cryptocurrency that was used as a ransom payment to hackers who targeted the Colonial Pipeline in a cyber attack last month. 

The ransomeware attack forced the nation’s largest pipeline to shut down its operations on May 7. 

Pipeline officials paid a hacker group known as DarkSide nearly 64 bitcoins in ransom. 

The DOJ’s newly created Ransomware and Digital Extortion Task Force  recovered the cryptocurrency, a rare feat. 

“Following the money remains one of the most basic, yet powerful tools we have,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco said in a statement. “Ransom payments are the fuel that propels the digital extortion engine, and today’s announcement demonstrates that the United States will use all available tools to make these attacks more costly and less profitable for criminal enterprises. We will continue to target the entire ransomware ecosystem to disrupt and deter these attacks. Today’s announcements also demonstrate the value of early notification to law enforcement; we thank Colonial Pipeline for quickly notifying the FBI when they learned that they were targeted by DarkSide.”

The task force managed to identify a virtual currency wallet used by the hackers and obtained a “private key” for the specific address. 

“There is no place beyond the reach of the FBI to conceal illicit funds that will prevent us from imposing risk and consequences upon malicious cyber actors,” FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate said. “We will continue to use all of our available resources and leverage our domestic and international partnerships to disrupt ransomware attacks and protect our private sector partners and the American public.”