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Maryland Introduces Bill to Make Ransomware Possession Illegal

Maryland Democrat, State Senator State Sen. Susan C. Lee introduced bill SB30, which would make possession of ransomware illegal. The bill was carefully written to make ransomware illegal in the case of malintent, but not to harm security researchers who study the malware.

SB30 makes possession of ransomware a crime
Last May, the city of Baltimore made nation-wide headlines, as one of the largest population municipalities to be targeted by ransomware in US history. The attackers demanded a ransom of 13 Bitcoin and held the city’s data hostage for almost 3 weeks. The city finally capitulated and paid the ransom, gaining access to their systems once again on May 20th, 2019.
This was the second such attack on the city’s critical IT infrastructure within a year. As a response, Democratic State Senator Susan Lee, of Maryland’s 16th District has introduced legislation to make the possession of ransomware with the intent to infect another computer, database or computer system a crime.
This may seem strange, but Maryland is one of the few states in the union that have legislation ready to deal with the threat of ransomware or cryptojacking malware. The crime, while not very old, has been one of the fastest growing criminal endeavors of the last decade. Law enforcement and lawmakers are struggling to catch up to cybercriminals who have become increasingly more sophisticated.