The Justice Department on Thursday issued a wide-ranging report describing the cyber threats facing the United States and the department’s tactics for investigating, disrupting and deterring those risks. Most significantly, the report contains the first public description of how the DOJ will assess and respond to foreign influence operations like Russia’s 2016 election meddling. “That policy reflects an effort to articulate neutral principles so that when the issue that the government confronted in 2016 arises again — as it surely will — there will be a framework to address it,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in unveiling the report at the Aspen Security Forum.
The report also describes a range of challenges hampering the government’s ability to fight more traditional cybercrime and recommends possible solutions.
The challenge that receives the most attention is encryption and other technological impediments to accessing investigative data. The spread of easy-to-use, often-invisible encryption “poses a significant impediment to the investigation of most types of criminal activity,” the report warns.