November 30, 2016
Press Release


WashingtonCongressman Ted W. Lieu (D | Los Angeles County) has sent a letter to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) requesting that the Committee hold a hearing on the rapidly growing threat of ransomware attacks. The letter comes days after the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) was reportedly hit by a ransomware attack that rendered the ticket machines for the Municipal Rail system out of service. Earlier this year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported that the incidents of ransomware were on the rise, with victims reporting $290 million in total costs from the attacks in the first three months of 2016 alone, compared with $24 million for all of 2015.

In the letter, Congressman Lieu writes:

  • “Ransomware attacks are used against all types of entities, including school districts, law enforcement agencies, government agencies and small and large businesses. At least 14 hospitals were affected this year alone, including three in the Los Angeles area.”
  • “These malware attacks have had tremendous economic costs in recent years, and it would seem only a matter of time before we face life-threatening or national security consequences as well. Whether it is a law enforcement agency losing track of a target or critical infrastructure failing to perform, the hypothetical scenarios should not be disregarded.”
  • "A House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing is needed to shed light on the growing threat of ransomware, outline best practices to mitigate it, and identify the most critical areas for improvement in both the public and private sectors.”

The full text of Congressman Lieu’s letter.