ABA Encourages Congressional Action on Botnet Legislation

Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee today on behalf of ABA, Citigroup’s Charles Blauner called on Congress to enhance the government’s ability to combat cyber threats posed by botnets used to distribute malware, ransomware or distributed denial of service attacks. Blauner, Citi’s global head of information security, highlighted the ongoing collaborative efforts of banks, government entities and federal law enforcement in disrupting a number of recent large-scale cyber attacks, but stressed the need for additional action at the legislative and executive level.

In particular, Blauner urged Congress to pass the Botnet Prevention Act of 2016 (S.2931), which would expand the Department of Justice’s ability to issue injunctions against botnets engaged in a broad range of illegal activity and give judges discretion to impose harsher penalties on those that intentionally damage critical infrastructure systems. Additionally, the bill would prohibit the sale of access rights to a compromised computer if the seller has reason to believe the buyer intends to use the computer for criminal purposes.

Blauner also encouraged the administration to issue an executive order authorizing the Treasury to impose sanctions on individuals and entities determined to be responsible for or complicit in malicious cyber-enabled activities that pose a threat to national security or financial stability. Such an order should clearly define actions considered to be significant cyber-enabled activities, he added.