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As of January 1, the delivery of ransomware is illegal in California thanks to Senate Bill 1137 going into effect.
State prosecutors had previously brought such cases under existing extortion statutes.
The new law was signed in September 2016, but it did not take effect until earlier this week in America’s most populous state.

The maximum penalty for ransomware usage will be four years in state prison. Wyoming became the first state to pass a similar statute in 2014.
“This legislation provides prosecutors the clarity they need to charge and convict perpetrators of ransomware,” Sen.

Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) said in a statement in September 2016. “Unfortunately, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the use of ransomware.

This bill treats this crime, which is essentially an electronic stickup, with the seriousness it deserves.”
According to the FBI, ransomware payouts in the United States jumped from $25 million in all of 2015 to over $209 million in just the first quarter of 2016.
Last year, San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency was notably hit with ransomware—the attacker demanded about $73,000 in bitcoins.

That attack failed when the MTA’s IT staff could restore from a previous backup.

Conversely, in February 2016, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, the Los Angeles hospital held hostage by crypto-ransomware, decided to pay a ransom of 40 bitcoins—the equivalent of $17,000 at the time.

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