SACRAMENTO, CA – Senator Ling Ling Chang (R-Diamond Bar) introduced SB 922, a bipartisan bill that will make it easier to prosecute felony computer hacking and ransomware offenses by extending the statute of limitations from the time the crime was committed to the time is was discovered. Cybercrimes like hacking and ransomware leave a trail of digital destruction but are often not discovered until long after the crime was committed.
“Hacking and phishing wreak havoc on our society, with billions of accounts getting hacked,” said Senator Chang. “Not only do hackers take great steps to conceal their crime – it took four years to discover the full extent of the Yahoo data breaches - but it’s predicted that cybercrime will cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021. This proposal will help deter future attacks and help victims get justice in the most severe cases.”
In 2017, computer crimes such as hacking and phishing affected 16.7 million Americans and in 2020, the projected cost for a single hacking event against a company is $150 million per incident.
Under existing law, the statute of limitations for computer hacking is three years after discovery, if prosecuted civilly. But the statute of limitations for computer hacking prosecuted as a felony commences from the date of the offense, not the date of discovery. This bill would allow the same statute of limitations for a felony violation as a civil prosecution for the same act.
Furthermore, ransomware – a growing cybercrime where hackers introduce malicious software into a computer system to block access to computer data until a ransom payment is made – is a growing crime that is incredibly difficult to prosecute. SB 922 will also extend the statute of limitations on these crimes to ensure cyber-criminals are brought to justice.