The Department of Justice has expanded its efforts to combat cyber threats with the launch of an initiative aimed at cracking down on government contractors that made false cybersecurity-related fraud claims.
The new Civil Cyber-Fraud Initiative will leverage the False Claims Act, a civil enforcement tool meant to address fraudulent conduct by companies to gain federal funds from programs and operations, DOJ said Wednesday.
“We will use our civil enforcement tools to pursue companies, those who are government contractors who receive federal funds, when they fail to follow required cybersecurity standards — because we know that puts all of us at risk,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco.
Companies that knowingly delivered deficient cybersecurity offerings, misreported cybersecurity practices or protocols and compromised cyber attack monitoring and reporting will be held accountable by the department as part of the initiative.
DOJ seeks to enhance overall cybersecurity practices, strengthen cyber threat resilience and gain reimbursement from companies that did not meet their cybersecurity obligations.
The fraud section of the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch will lead the initiative, which is expected to also draw from DOJ’s collaborative efforts with law enforcement partners, other federal agencies and subject matter experts.