If you are employed by a government contractor that provides cybersecurity support to the country’s crucial infrastructure sectors, we encourage you to speak with a whistleblower attorney about any irregularities you have witnessed or suspect. With Russian hackers being an immediate threat, the government counts on those with inside knowledge to report lax protocol.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has warned Congress that Russian hackers have been scanning systems vital to America’s operations, and the White House anticipates Russian cyberattacks aimed at dismantling the country’s operations. Russian hacking prompts the U.S. to call out companies providing inadequate cybersecurity while being paid under government contracts. If you have crucial information but are unsure what to do with it, a Columbia inadequate cybersecurity and hacking whistleblower lawyer can help.
The False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729 – 3733, dates to 1863 as a remedy for defense contractor fraud during the American Civil War. It allows the government to levy hefty fines against perpetrators who knowingly submit false claims about work done for the government. In modern times, this includes contractors who do not follow the government’s cybersecurity requirements or fail to report cybersecurity breaches when they become aware of them. These failures are actionable under the False Claims Act, just as manufacturing a substandard product under a government contract is.
President Biden’s Executive Order in May 2021 mandated government agencies and their contractors to beef up their cybersecurity strategies and share any information about data breaches or cyber threats. The Department of Justice (DOJ) in October 2021 revealed its Civil Cyber-Fraud Initiative to proactively identify contractors that knowingly provide substandard cybersecurity products or services, misrepresent their cybersecurity protocols, or fail to monitor or report breaches. A cybersecurity and hacking whistleblower in Columbia could apply their extensive experience in federal law to someone who comes forward with evidence of impropriety.
The FCA also grants private citizens the right to file fraud claims on the government’s behalf, known as qui tam suits. Qui tam suits, usually instigated by whistleblowers, give rise to investigations that allow the government to recoup damages and penalties. Whistleblowers who alert the government about false claims by a contractor are generally paid 15-25 percent of the money the government recoups. These actions are complicated because they involve the U.S. government and its contractors, and fear of retaliation can stop someone from reporting cybersecurity breaches. Columbia cybersecurity lawyers have extensive experience in federal law issues and could guide a person through the whistleblower process.
The protection that federal employees receive under the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) was extended to private sector employees working for federal contractors under the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The government recognizes that federal contractors’ employees are a valuable resource in combatting fraud the contractors may perpetrate, including in cybersecurity.
The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) was tasked with naming the most likely targets for Russian cyber-attacks based on reports of Russian hackers scanning specific systems. Contractors providing cybersecurity to any crucial sectors are especially under government scrutiny to provide adequate goods and services. The sectors identified include:
Russia’s intelligence sector is evolving, and it behooves employees of federal contractors to report cybersecurity fraud to the U.S. government. A hacking defense whistleblower attorney in Columbia is adept at handling these intricate cases.
With Russian hacking becoming a more virulent threat than in the past, the federal government needs help spotting breaches in its cybersecurity structure. It can be daunting to turn in your employer who provides substandard cybersecurity to critical infrastructure sectors. It is even more daunting to think about a cyber attack taking down one of them.
The actions of a whistleblower often reverberate across the country. Under the False Claims Act, a whistleblower could also be paid a percentage of what the government takes back from the fraudulent contractor. If you are employed by a federal contractor providing cybers services or products, and you have reason to believe fraud is going on, a Columbia inadequate cybersecurity and hacking whistleblower lawyer could listen and advise you about your position.