DOJ cybersecurity task force will focus on US election manipulation

The Department of Justice will create a new cybersecurity task force called the "Cyber-Digital Task Force." The new security initiative will be created by order of the US Attorney General Jeff Sessions who cites the ability of terrorists and others to exploit the Internet for nefarious reasons. The Cyber-Digital Task Force will assess ways to address these issues.

The announcement follows extensive coverage of US election interference by Russian "trolls" that used social media accounts to sow discord and manipulate voters. According to Sessions, the task force is primarily concerned — for now, at least — with studying online meddling with US elections, a move to avoid a repeat of the 2016 fiasco. Sessions said in a statement:

The Internet has given us amazing new tools that help us work, communicate, and participate in our economy, but these tools can also be exploited by criminals, terrorists, and enemy governments. At the Department of Justice, we take these threats seriously. That is why today I am ordering the creation of a Cyber-Digital Task Force to advise me on the most effective ways that this Department can confront these threats and keep the American people safe.

In addition to studying election interference as it pertains to online platforms, the Cyber-Digital Task Force will also prioritize its look into cybersecurity-related critical infrastructure interference, as well as the ways the Internet is being used to spread dangerous ideologies and recruit new members to them, how technology is used to "avoid or frustrate law enforcement," how hackers steal huge troves of data, and the hijacking of computers.

The Department of Justice cautions that the new task force isn't limited to just those tasks, but rather that it will give those topics its attention over other things it may get involved with later on. The task force's first report will be delivered to the US Attorney General by the end of this upcoming June.

SOURCE: Justice Department