A bill sponsored by state Rep. Brandt Iden prohibiting the possession of computer ransomware with intent to use was recently signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder.
Ransomware is malicious software designed to block access to a computer or freeze essential files until a “ransom” payment is made to restore access.
“This type of technology puts those who do business in our state at risk,” said Iden, of Oshtemo. “We need protections in place to curtail some of the problems we have seen arise around the state and the country. I want to put Michigan in the best possible position to both prevent and combat these types of cyber threats.”
The costs of ransomware incidents, which include ransom payments made as well as data system security upgrades, has been estimated at around $2.6 million for the state. More than 1,300 incidents have been reported throughout the state over the past year, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
House Bill 5257, now Public Act 95 of 2018, moved overwhelmingly through the House on Jan. 25 and in unanimous fashion through the Senate on March 22. Companion legislation proposed by state Rep. Jim Lower of Cedar Lake was also signed and outlines sentencing guidelines for the intent to use or distribute ransomware, making it up to a three-year felony.