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Sen. Brian Schatz’s bill to analyze cybercrime in U.S. signed into law

ASSOCIATED PRESS
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ASSOCIATED PRESS

A measure authored by U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz to improve data collection and analysis of online crimes in the U.S. was signed into law today, according to his office.

President Joe Biden signed the Better Cybercrime Metrics Act, which passed the U.S. Senate in December and the U.S. House of Representatives in March.

“By collecting data on how often, when, and where cyberattacks are happening, our bipartisan bill will better protect people in Hawaii from online crimes like those against our transit and water systems in Honolulu, help us support victims of online crimes, and give us more tools to go after the criminals who perpetrate them,” Schatz in a news release.

People in Hawaii lost $17.2 million to online crimes last year, with investment and romance scams, and the illegal use of digital currency accounting for the largest financial theft schemes, according to annual Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Report.

Most victims in Hawaii were people who got snubbed through online billing issues or did not receive what they paid for, with the 2021 report showing those situations accounting for 235 cases. Incidences of extortion were the next highest in number with 208 victims, followed by personal data breaches at 202.

In December, Federal agents and Honolulu police opened an investigation into the cyberattack that disabled online servers and shutdown TheBus website, TheHandi-Van reservation system and prevented riders from using their HOLO transportation cards.

The FBI, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Honolulu Police Department, and the U.S. Secret Service are collaborating on the ongoing probe.

Also in December, an apparent ransomware attack that infiltrated and shut down the time-keeping services for employees at the Board of Water Supply and Emergency Medical Services. The attack was part of a nationwide offensive on public and private networks.

According to the news release, the Better Cybercrime Metrics Act:

>> Require the FBI to report metrics on cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime categories;

>> Encourage local and federal law enforcement agencies to report incidents of cybercrime in their jurisdictions to the FBI;

>> Authorize a study at the National Academies of Science to create a taxonomy for cybercrime incidents in consultation with federal, state, local, and tribal stakeholders, criminologists, and business leaders that would inform the FBI’s reporting of cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime; and

>> Require the Bureau of Justice Statistics at the Department of Justice and the Census Bureau to include questions related to cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime as part of its annual National Crime Victimization Survey.

Internet crime and the vulnerability of American networks and computer systems is a priority for the Biden administration as the potential for catastrophic cyber assaults by Russian and Chinese state actors remain high.

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received a record 847,376 reported complaints in 2021, which was a 7% increase from 2020.

In 2021, business email compromise schemes resulted in 19,954 complaints, with an adjusted loss of nearly $2.4 billion.

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