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The DOJ’s Civil Cyber-Fraud Initiative

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October is National Cybersecurity Awareness month, and the Department of Justice has chosen this month to roll out a new “Civil Cyber-Fraud Initiative.” The announced purpose of the Initiative is to actively pursue cybersecurity-related fraud claims by government contractors and grant recipients. 

The DOJ intends to use the False Claims Act to address risks to systems or information caused by knowingly deficient cybersecurity efforts, including failure to report security incidents. In fact, the DOJ expressly identifies the practice of hiding data breaches rather than reporting data breaches as one of the types of behavior that it hopes to change through the Initiative.  The DOJ press release also specifically draws attention to the whistleblower provision of the False Claims Act, which allows private parties to not only report violations, but to share in the recovery from their reporting. 

The press release is available here

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