New York Governor Proposes Increased Cybersecurity Measures

In his 2017 State of the State addresses, Governor Andrew Cuomo introduced proposals to better protect New Yorkers against cyberattacks, including forming a “response team” when confidential information from state and local governments is breached.

Cuomo said that New York faces an “ever-increasing threat” from cybercriminals out to violate the privacy or financial well-being of its residents. Despite these concerns, many of the New York’s criminal laws that protect financial or intellectual property and ensure privacy have not kept pace with this growth. To remedy this, Governor Cuomo proposes a three-pronged approach to strengthen New York’s penalties for cyber criminals:

  1. Strengthening computer tampering punishments – the Governor seeks to introduce a new class B-level felony for those causing more than $1 million in damages by computer tampering.
  2. Strengthening identity theft punishments – the proposal looks to introduce more severe punishments depending on the number of identities stolen and the vulnerability of the victims.
  3. Expanding computer intrusion laws – Cuomo proposes legislation that will ensure unauthorized intrusion into private systems is treated as a crime in all cases, with punishment depending on the severity of hacking.

In addition, the Governor intends to form a “cyber incident response team” that would serve as a multi-agency strike force, able to respond to cyber intrusions across the state. It will be supported by members of computer-expert personnel in the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, the National Guard, the state Office of Information Technology Services and other agencies to aid all state agencies and authorities, local governments and others whose systems have been attacked by criminals and hackers. It will also provide a single number to report cyber incidents, which will streamline response efforts.