California Senate Website Hit with Ransomware

'All of our shared drive files have been encrypted with software typically used in ransomware attacks,' said spokesman Andrew LaMar.

by Samantha Young, TechWire / June 3, 2016
A screencap Thursday from State Sen. Bob Hertzberg's Twitter account. Twitter/@hertzieLA

A day after the state Senate approved legislation outlawing ransomware, the bill author’s website was hit.

In a tweet Thursday, Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, showed a screen shot of his hijacked Senate website.

“All of our shared drive files have been encrypted with software typically used in ransomware attacks,” Hertzberg spokesman Andrew LaMar wrote in an email to TechWire. “So we cannot access our shared files.”

The attack occurred between Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, he added. Computer technicians are currently working to resolve the problem.

Lawmakers on Tuesday unanimously approved legislation by Hertzberg that would make it a crime for anyone to knowingly put ransomware on a computer's system, network or data. The bill comes after a number of retailers and hospitals have fallen victim to software attacks demanding compensation to unlock their computer, device or data.

In February, the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center paid a $17,000 ransom in bitcoin to restore access to its computer system. During the floor debate on Tuesday, Hertzberg said the number of attacks have skyrocketed to more than $204 million in ransomware payments in the first three months of 2016 compared to $24 million for all of last year.

“As we face new challenges in this technologically advancing society, our laws need to fundamentally change,” Hertzberg said during the debate.

Hertzberg's bill, SB 1137, would make a ransomware violation a felony, punishable by up to four years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. The measure must now win Assembly approval.

This article was originally published on TechWire.