Virginia gets tougher on phishing

Virginia is already pretty tough on computer crime, just ask Jeremy Jaynes. But now the state has taken the additional step of tweaking their Computer Crimes Act so they can start kicking phishers’ butts even harder.

Virginia has recently modified the Computer Crimes Act, making phishing attempts a felony, punishable by up to five years and a $2,500 fine. Why not make it 20 years and a million dollar fine? Nonetheless, a good move. In addition, the addendums make it unlawful to distribute phished information, even if the seller of the data didn’t know their product was illegally obtained. Now that is an excellent move. Disrupt the distribution channel – create mistrust among the crooks as well as those who think they are sneakily skirting some technicality to obtain a spam list. Divide the enemy.

The Feds are getting in on the act too. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has introduced a bill that makes it a federal offense to create phishing websites as well as send email lures. While the latter is generally covered by CAN-SPAM, keeping web designers and hosts wary of working with suspect sites can’t be a bad thing. I say slap all the accomplices (meaning the previously mentioned) with penalties, and you would invariably force the creation of an internal policing system. It would be tough to enforce on a host in Brazil, but at least the fake blogs would get canned.

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