Security News > 2021 > April > US Government Taking Creative Steps to Counter Cyberthreats
An FBI operation that gave law enforcement remote access to hundreds of computers to counter a massive hack of Microsoft Exchange email server software is a tool that is likely to be deployed "Judiciously" in the future as the Justice Department, aware of privacy concerns, develops a framework for its use, a top national security official said Wednesday.
Many victims took steps on their own to safeguard their systems, but for those that who did not, the Justice Department stepped in to do it for them with a judge's approval.
"We have a decision to make, which is are we going to go ahead and do that action ourselves or are we just going to leave that malware there, sort of unremediated," said Assistant Attorney General John Demers, speaking at a virtual discussion hosted by the Project for Media & National Security at George Washington University.
The department is figuring out how it plans to use that capability in the future.
"We don't yet have sort of worked out what our criteria are going to be going forward," Demers said.
He pointed out that the department did obtain a judge's permission and said the government felt compelled to act because, after a period of several weeks, there were still unremediated web shells that continued to serve as access point for "Hackers of all stripes."