California bill would outlaw ransomware

The bill would be the state's version of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
The bill would be the state's version of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

A California state senator has introduced a bill updating the state's penal that would make it a felony to intentionally use ransomware, but some say the change would be useless due to how difficult it is to catch and prosecute cybercrimals.

Sen. Bob Hertzberg's (D-Van Nuys) bill would be comparable to the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) that is used to target ransomware, according to the Los Angeles Times. The bill's proponents say that despite law enforcement's inability to catch these cybercriminals it would bring the state's penal code up to date so California will be ready if and when these malicious actors are brought to justice.

“You buy an umbrella before it starts raining,” said Don Hoffman, a prosecutor with Cyber Investigation Response Team of the Los Angeles County district attorney's office, according to the LA Times, adding he expects more ransomware attacks as the bar to enter this field is lowered.

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