Capitol Alert

California lawmaker carrying anti-ransomware bill hit by cyberattack

Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Los Angeles, during floor session on April 20, 2015.
Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Los Angeles, during floor session on April 20, 2015. The Associated Press

On Tuesday, Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Los Angeles, carried a bill through the California Senate making it a crime to infect someone’s computer with ransomware. On Thursday, his staff arrived at the office to find all of their shared files inaccessible.

“Everything was shut down,” Hertzberg said.

It may have been retaliation for Senate Bill 1137, which punishes ransomware attacks – where malicious software is introduced into a computer system, shutting down access until a payment is made – by up to 4 years in county jail and a $10,000 fine.

But by the time a note arrived that afternoon, informing the office their files were encrypted and how they could end the attack, Capitol technicians had restored access to the shared drive.

After years in the Legislature, Hertzberg said he is used to retribution from special interests who don’t like a vote he has taken: “It kind of goes with the territory.”

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

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