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Supreme Court Approves DOJ Search Warrant Rule Amendment to Support Botnet Investigations

cyber-hack-network-computerThe Supreme Court has approved the Justice Department‘s proposed amendment that will help investigators streamline search warrant applications and dismantle botnet operations.

Leslie Caldwell, assistant attorney general at DOJ’s criminal division, wrote in a blog post published Tuesday the amendment to the Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure on search warrants will take effect on Dec. 1, 2016.

The amendment will permit botnet investigators to bring a search warrant application to one federal court rather than apply for identical warrants in up to 94 judicial districts if they want to investigate infected computers across the U.S., Caldwell said.

“The rule would make no changes to the substantive law governing probable cause or particularity, or to when it may or may not be appropriate to search an infected computer,” Caldwell noted.

“The only thing the rule would do is identify a single court that is authorized to consider those questions in the context of an application for a search warrant,” she added.

Caldwell said DOJ should engage in more operations to mitigate mass hacking such as the collective effort of the FBI, various countries and computer security companies in 2014 to dismantle the Gameover Zeus botnet that allegedly stole more than $100 million from American victims.

Botnets are networks of computers infected with malware and are remotely controlled by criminals to invade victims’ privacy and access personal or financial information.

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