Senator Chang Introduces Legislation to Combat Cybercriminals and Computer Hackers

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Senator Ling Ling Chang

SACRAMENTO, CA – Senator Ling Ling Chang (R-Diamond Bar) introduced Senate Bill 239, which would make it easier to prosecute serious cybercriminals and computer hackers. The proposal would align the statute of limitations for felony computer hacking with similar forms of crimes by allowing for prosecution three years after the date of discovery, rather than the date of offense.

“Hacking and phishing affects everyone, leaving a huge trail of destruction,” said Senator Chang. “Hackers take great steps to conceal their crime which could result in delayed discovery. The hacking attacks on Yahoo occurred in 2013 and 2014, compromising three billion user accounts. But the public didn’t learn about the full extent of the data breach until 2017. This doesn’t make the criminal any less guilty or the crime insignificant. This bill is a step in the right direction to getting justice for the victims.”

In 2017, computer crimes such as hacking and phishing affected 16.7 million Americans at a cost of $16.8 billion. In 2020, the projected cost for a single hacking event against a company is estimated at $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 of Penal Code section 502 as a civil prosecution for the same act.