Lawmakers Make Ransomware a Crime

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Lawmakers in California introduced a bill that would make knowingly using ransomware a felony, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times.

Written by state Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys), the bill would revise the state legislature’s penal code to outlaw ransomware, a type of malware injected into a computer or network that enables a hacker to hold data hostage until given money, the article notes.

After Hertzberg’s bill passed through the Senate in May with a 39-0 vote, is own website was attacked by ransomware. “All of our shared drive files have been encrypted with software typically used in ransomware attacks,” Hertzberg spokesman Andrew LaMar said in an email to TechWire. “So we cannot access our shared files.”

Under the proposed legislation of the bill, SB 1137, punishment for a ransomware violation could be up to four years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

With no opposition in the Assembly, the bill will be sent to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk by the time legislature adjourns at the end of August, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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