Contractors who fail to report breaches can be sued under new US DOJ initiative

A new initiative will allow US government contractors to be accountable in a civil court if they fail to report breaches or maintain required cybersecurity standards.

According to Bleeping Computer, the new Civil Cyber Fraud Initiative will provide the US Department of Justice (DOJ) with the leverage to fight digital threats to sensitive information and critical systems stemming from collaborators of federal agencies.

US Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco claimed the initiative allows the DOJ to pursue government contractors that keep silent about a breach incident or fail to comply with cybersecurity standards.

The initiative will use the False Claims Act – an act that makes liable anyone who knowingly submits false claims to the government – to push forward the initiative. In this act, a whistle-blower provision enables private parties to identify and pursue fraudulent conduct.

The Civil Cyber Fraud Initiative is focused on strengthening defences and minimising the risk of intrusion on government networks due to poor cybersecurity practices from external partners.

The DOJ said, “The initiative will hold accountable entities or individuals that put US information or systems at risk by knowingly providing deficient cybersecurity products or services, knowingly misrepresenting their cybersecurity practices or protocols, or knowingly violating obligations to monitor and report cybersecurity incidents and breaches.”

Earlier this year, the DOJ launched a fellowship program that is designed to develop legal expertise to deal with cyber threats that impact national security.

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