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The Latest: California Senate backs 'ransomware' prohibition

Hertzberg's SB 1137 heads to Governor's desk

August 25, 2016

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on action in the California Legislature (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

Legislation to explicitly outlaw "ransomware" hacking attacks is headed to Gov. Jerry Brown.

The measure approved Thursday responds to a rapid rise in cases of hackers who block access to a user's electronic data and demand the victim pay a ransom to restore it.
Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles paid about $17,000 in bitcoins to hackers who infiltrated its network. Two other Southern California hospitals reported attacks in March.

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office says existing cybercrime statutes aren't always a good fit for prosecuting ransomware cases. SB1137 by Democratic Sen. Bob Hertzberg of Van Nuys allows prosecutors to charge perpetrators with extortion.

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