back to article US to attack cyber criminals first, ask questions later – if it protects victims

The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has revealed new policies that may see it undertake pre-emptive action against cyber threats. Revealed last week by deputy attorney general Lisa O. Monaco, in a speech at the Munich Cyber Security Conference, the policy will see prosecutors, agents and analysts assess "whether to …

  1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Re: that extension to a modern adaptation of a very old law enforcement technique

    Following all the new criminals’ money leads one naturally, indirectly straight to the DoJ and its supporting agencies and US cyber commands.

    As strange as it may be, that appears to support another old adage ...... If you can’t beat them, join them ...... which is not really a solution from anything proposed and presented and funded to be an effective opposition.

    1. stiine Silver badge

      Re: that extension to a modern adaptation of a very old law enforcement technique

      Did you forget to apply your stupidity filter before pressing Submit?

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        When Kept in the Dark, One Sees Next to Nothing and Knows Even Less

        Did you forget to apply your stupidity filter before pressing Submit? ...stiine

        You gotta get out more, amigo, in order to see all the madness and mayhem around, that the ignorance and arrogance and unpleasantness that surrounds you compounds with the delivery of the many errors on your ways forward into what one surely cannot deny is ..... The Great Unknown?

        :-) You will of course though, maybe, if not exactly encounter, then at certain odd times get to hear tell of tales of that and those professing to know of what tomorrows will bring, and what is being done about it with the how supplied from IT and AI Commands and Controls today for the subsequent days and 0days which result, ad infinitum, for news and media and humans to present as live events to be followed and believed as spontaneous and natural rather than pimped and pumped and disbelieved as an alien contrivance and totally supernatural which would surely be bound to terrify and confuse and confound the natives should they be totally unprepared for such an almighty revelation and unprecedented intervention.

        What would you do to tomorrow for the days and 0days which naturally flow after it/them, each resulting in yet greater feasts of feats for opportunity and experience to explore and exploit/engage and enjoy/implore and employ ...... if you were ever to be able or enabled?

      2. sreynolds

        Re: that extension to a modern adaptation of a very old law enforcement technique

        Meh, I always shoot from the him.

    2. claimed Silver badge

      Re: that extension to a modern adaptation of a very old law enforcement technique

      You fucker I thought you were a bot! I was impressed at a bot forming such an accusation. I am now disappointed to see the "1" indicates you're just a troll. I imagine most of your up votes to earn that silver badge are based on other people making the same mistake and awarding you a vote for a coherent post

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: that extension to a modern adaptation of a very old law enforcement technique

        You fucker I thought you were a bot! I was impressed at a bot forming such an accusation. I am now disappointed to see the "1" indicates you're just a troll. I imagine most of your up votes to earn that silver badge are based on other people making the same mistake and awarding you a vote for a coherent post ..... claimed

        Crikey, congratulations, claimed, for the use of some real crazy fuzzy logic there ..... which sort of confirms the validity of the later madness and mayhem that abounds all around comment too.

        And the casting of slurs and aspersion on the wit of El Regers is an unwelcome unnecessary unpleasantness thoroughly unwarranted and therefore wasted on that singled out for vainglorious attack/fuzzy logic assault.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MegaUpload Revisited....Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid....

    Quote: '... Monaco mentioned "providing decryptor keys or seizing servers..." '

    Yup......so there's more stuff like MegaUpload in our future, then?

    .....shut down first, ask questions later......

    .....so I quite like the idea of AVOIDING "cloud" services, and having physical, off-site backups of ALL my stuff.....

    Just saying!!!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No, no, no

    If there is one country which you really do not want to give pre-emptive and//or extrajurisdictional powers it's the US.

    Pre-emptive: looking at how their Civil Asset Forfeiture laws are being abused in country without any attempt to correct the issue ought to be enough of a hint

    Extrajurisdictional: have a look at the reach of the Cloud Act and then tell me is you really want to trust them acting responsibly. Also, CIA - check out what they get up to. Hint: extraordinary rendition.

    No, no, no. Baaaaaaad idea. That's like giving a convicted felon a crowbar for domestic use.

    1. Kane

      Re: No, no, no

      "If there is one country which you really do not want to give pre-emptive and//or extrajurisdictional powers it's the US."

      You say that like anyone's giving anything to them. It's more like a statement of intent: "We are going to do this."

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: No, no, no

        You say that like anyone's giving anything to them. It's more like a statement of intent: "We are going to do this.” .... Kane

        To not think and realise such things are already and have for some long time been going on is to admit that one hasn’t a clue about what is remotely shaping the future of your existence.

        And that makes things so much easier to do ..... and why there is that plan to try and further control and/or shut down other than mainstream traditional information and conventional existing elite intelligence servers.

        However, whenever those are failing to deliver the truth, preferring instead to favour fake news in support of outdated and corrupted views, is failure both practically and virtually guaranteed .... and also guaranteed to highlight the problem parties responsible and trying desperately to avoid accountability. IT is a lose lose methodology ... and gravely to be regarded and best totally negated.

  4. Mike 137 Silver badge

    "to track money through the blockchain"

    The assumption that there is a single global blockchain seems extremely naive, as are the apparent concomitant assumptions that all transactions will be recorded in any blockchain, or even if the relevant transactions are recorded in some blockchain that we will be able to identify it.

    The proposed default policy of counter-attack seems equally naive. It will do nothing to stem the tide of cyber crime, as it will not diminish the population (or the long term resource base) of attackers. The inevitable result will be, as the US has experienced in the physical arena (e.g. Afghanistan), endless skirmish in enemy territory, rather than subduing that enemy. This will also have world-wide adverse repercussions as cyber threats have no national boundaries (witness notPetya). We'd be better served by a general improvement of our defences - concentrating on pre-emptive resilience so attacks don't succeed so often. Sadly, that's harder and less demonstrative than hitting back in individual instances, so it probably won't be considered.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: "to track money through the blockchain"

      I have never heard of an assumption that there is a single, global blockchain.

      Every instance of funny money has its own blockchain, I think that's pretty obvious.

      However, even if I do not know how blockchain works, I do know that a blockchain is a public ledger, emphasis on the word "public".

      So, as far as I'm concerned, all the police need to do is hire competent IT experts in blockchain and they'll be able to trace the money and shut down illegal operations. Or at least point the finger at them.

      Now, as far as attacking anything abroad, I do believe that that puts the US in the same boat as the malware criminals themselves. Of course, it is expedient, but it is also not justified when you call yourself a democracy.

      On the other hand, the US is no longer a democracy so, win all around ?

      1. Patched Out
        Headmaster

        Re: "to track money through the blockchain"

        The United States has never been a democracy in the pure ideological sense. It is and has always been a democratic republic.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "to track money through the blockchain"

        "So, as far as I'm concerned, all the police need to do is hire competent IT experts in blockchain and they'll be able to trace the money and shut down illegal operations. Or at least point the finger at them.".

        It's much funnier than that - most of them give themselves away by their presence on exchanges. Practically ALL of these exchanges use the same (US based) company to produce their fancy graphics, so they get all that data to render into pretty pictures and nobody seems to have worked that one out yet. Very amusing.

        "Now, as far as attacking anything abroad, I do believe that that puts the US in the same boat as the malware criminals themselves. Of course, it is expedient, but it is also not justified when you call yourself a democracy."

        Correct, but they've been on this self-justification tour for a while to the point that they even believe their own nonsense. Just look at what the CIA got up to post WW II. That's why their holier-than-thou attitude tends to annoy me.

      3. jmch Silver badge

        Re: "to track money through the blockchain"

        "a blockchain is a public ledger, emphasis on the word "public"."

        Correct. "Reading" through a complete blockchain allows one to view all transactions that have ever happened on that blockchain, and consequently the balance of every single wallet that ever transacted on that blockchain.

        However if a wallet was not set up through an exchange, or if it was set up before KYC procedures became commonplace, it's not possible to associate a person to a wallet. ( Although there are ways of deanonimising a wallet)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "to track money through the blockchain"

      Personally I'm all for nuking the hackers and their hardware from orbit, along with the spammers, scammers, telemarketers, pollsters, and everyone else who intrudes on my life to my annoyance.

      1. Cederic Silver badge

        Re: "to track money through the blockchain"

        The problem is the collateral damage and the innocents intentionally targeted.

        There's plenty of case evidence that the US will abuse the law to persecute people for political reasons* even inside their own country, good luck getting any semblance of justice if you live elsewhere.

        *search for 'illegal fisa' for a selection of different examples, just to scratch the surface

      2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: "to track money through the blockchain"

        along with the spammers, scammers, telemarketers, pollsters, and everyone else who intrudes on my life to my annoyance. .... msobkow

        Aka government spin doctors and officious unofficial spokespersons/conveniently anonymised sources pimping and pumping dodgy info and crap intel ie Prime Premium Stinking to High Heaven Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road Bull Shit. ........ https://youtu.be/CxgagXVqZZM

        And they all have a real live catastrophic problem whenever more than just enough and a relative few know that all that they say is not the truth, nowhere near the whole truth and anything but the truth .... and events and circumstances conspire to enable them and a relative few to ensure they can do what is needed to remotely and very stealthily remedy the situation.

    3. Cav Bronze badge

      Re: "to track money through the blockchain"

      "It will do nothing to stem the tide of cyber crime"

      If Russia starts finding its infrastructure attacked more agressively then perhaps they will be more willing to reign in the criminals they host.

      1. stiine Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: "to track money through the blockchain"

        Or use all of those weapons that they're paying to maintian.

        At least all of the DoD ip addresses were published ?last year? for a time so that all of the world knows who to blame if attacked from one (or more) of them.

        If pre-emptive strikes actually produced long-term results, al Qaeda and Mr Augusto Nicolás Calderón de Sandino y José de María Sandino would be unheard of today, but they don't, won't and can't, at least not without 100% casualties and the U.N. frowns upon genocide.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "to track money through the blockchain"

        If the Russian state gets involved it will be able to create a lot more damage to the West than vice versa.

        And if they eventually start collaborating with the Chinese, the West could end up initiating a physical war in retaliation.

        But at least the cowboys have God on their side.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An arms race in cyberspace

    I feel safer already. /S

  6. NonSSL-Login

    The same US...

    ....that will only use its expansive surveillance net for catching terrorists?

    The same one which hasn't stopped a major attack with all its bulk collection but one might argue it has used for business espionage and other such financial and political gains?

    Yeah, allowing them to pro-actively attack 'criminals' is a great idea going by their track record...said no one.

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