October 12, 2021

Cybersecurity: DOJ Launches “Civil Cyber-Fraud Initiative”

Last week, the DOJ announced a new cyber-fraud initiative, and if your company is a government contractor, you’re on the front line. Here’s an excerpt from the DOJ’s announcement:

The Civil Cyber-Fraud Initiative will utilize the False Claims Act to pursue cybersecurity related fraud by government contractors and grant recipients. The False Claims Act is the government’s primary civil tool to redress false claims for federal funds and property involving government programs and operations. The act includes a unique whistleblower provision, which allows private parties to assist the government in identifying and pursing fraudulent conduct and to share in any recovery and protects whistleblowers who bring these violations and failures from retaliation.

The initiative will hold accountable entities or individuals that put U.S. 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.

The DOJ says that it will work closely with other federal agencies, subject matter experts and law enforcement partners throughout the government. This Miller & Chevalier memo on the Initiative notes that it follows on the heels of President Biden’s executive order on cybersecurity, and also discusses a number of recent cybersecurity cases where the government has used the formidable False Claims Act as the basis for its claims.

John Jenkins