The US Department of Justice has underlined the growing importance of fighting cyber crime in order to protect national security by unveiling a new scheme that will give prosecutors three years’ practical experience of dealing with cyber crimes. The Cyber Fellowship will provide selected attorneys with the opportunity to investigate and prosecute…
…state-sponsored cyber threats; transnational criminal groups; infrastructure and ransomware attacks; and the use of cryptocurrency and money laundering to finance and profit from cyber-based crimes.
The Fellowship is the product of a review of the Department of Justice’s anti-cybercrime capabilities that was initiated by Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco (pictured). Monaco justified the scheme by saying:
We need to develop the next generation of prosecutors with the training and experience necessary to combat the next generation of cyber threats. This Fellowship gives attorneys a unique opportunity to gain the well-rounded experience they need to tackle the full range of those threats.
I am not the biggest fan of relying on lawyers to mitigate cyber risks; the worst must have already happened if a lawyer is being engaged to clean up the mess. However, this move does highlight the need to give lawyers appropriate training, and the likelihood that most current prosecutors lack the skills and insights to combat cyber crime effectively. Enhanced security that prevents crime is better than investigating crimes and punishing those responsible, but better enforcement of the law should help to deter criminals. Law enforcement in other countries should monitor this US program and emulate it if successful, whilst it also serves US interests to share any lessons learned with their allies.
You can read the Department of Justice press release about their Cyber Fellowship here.