Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


House Has New Crime Bill

Broader, tougher computer crime legislation is proposed by members of the US House of Representatives

Congress is proposing to get tougher on computer crime -- again.

The U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security Thursday heard testimony on a newly introduced bill that promises to expand current laws to account for new types of exploits and vulnerabilities. However, with two other bills already floating around the Capitol, it will probably be some time before any definitive legislation is passed into law.

The new bill, dubbed the "Cyber-Security Enhancement and Consumer Data Protection Act of 2006" (H.R. 5318), was proposed by House Judiciary Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and committee members Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).

The full text of the bill isn't yet available online, but in a hearing held yesterday, members of the House Judiciary Committee outlined some of the highlights. According to Rep. Howard Coble (R-N.C.), chairman of the subcommittee, the new legislation will tighten up current laws and stiffen the maximum penalty for computer crimes to 30 years.

In addition, the proposed legislation expands the definition of the phrase "protected computer" to include a wider variety of devices and data, and it offers specific language to outlaw the creation and use of botnets, Coble said. It also extends the RICOH Act to allow law enforcement agencies to investigate organized syndicates of attackers who work together to steal and sell personal or business-sensitive data.

Industry groups and law enforcement agencies were generally supportive of the bill, but several experts said they would like the language to go further than it does. Susanna Montezemolo, policy analyst for the Consumers Union, noted that the bill does not require corporations to tell users when a suspected violation of their data occurs, therefore nullifying some state laws that do.

Laura Parsky, deputy assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice's Criminal Division, said federal law enforcement agencies would like to see fewer limitations on the crimes that federal agencies can investigate. Currently, a computer crime must total $5,000 or more before the feds can be called in.

And several observers expressed skepticism that any bill can be passed until different House and Senate subcommittees can get together and come up with a common proposal. Currently, the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection -- a part of the House Energy and Commerce Committee -- is considering H.R. 3997 and H.R. 4127, which propose new regulations on the security of financial information and personal data.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Our Endpoint Protection system is a little outdated... 
Current Issue
The Year in Security: 2019
This Tech Digest provides a wrap up and overview of the year's top cybersecurity news stories. It was a year of new twists on old threats, with fears of another WannaCry-type worm and of a possible botnet army of Wi-Fi routers. But 2019 also underscored the risk of firmware and trusted security tools harboring dangerous holes that cybercriminals and nation-state hackers could readily abuse. Read more.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
Intesync Solismed 3.3sp1 allows Local File Inclusion (LFI), a different vulnerability than CVE-2019-15931. This leads to unauthenticated code execution.
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
Cacti through 1.2.7 is affected by multiple instances of lib/functions.php unsafe deserialization of user-controlled data to populate arrays. An authenticated attacker could use this to influence object data values and control actions taken by Cacti or potentially cause memory corruption in the PHP ...
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
An issue was discovered in Intesync Solismed 3.3sp1. An flaw in the encryption implementation exists, allowing for all encrypted data stored within the database to be decrypted.
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
A reflected XSS issue was discovered in DAViCal through 1.1.8. It echoes the action parameter without encoding. If a user visits an attacker-supplied link, the attacker can view all data the attacked user can view, as well as perform all actions in the name of the user. If the user is an administrat...
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
The Scoutnet Kalender plugin 1.1.0 for WordPress allows XSS.