News
News
3/2/2005
01:30 PM
50%
50%

Phishers Would Face 5 Years Under New Bill

Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy introduces the Anti-Phishing Act of 2005.

Prominent Democrat Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Tuesday introduced a federal anti-phishing bill that would levy fines as high as $250,000 and impose jail terms of up to five years against criminals creating fake Web sites and spamming bogus e-mail designed to con consumers.

The Anti-Phishing Act of 2005 will put the pressure on phishing criminals, Leahy said in a statement. "Some phishers can be prosecuted under wire fraud or identity theft statutes, but often these prosecutions take place only after someone has been defrauded...that leaves plenty of time to cover their tracks. Traditional wire fraud and identity theft statutes are not sufficient to respond to phishing."

According to the most recent data from the Anti-Phishing Working Group, the average life span of a phishing site is just under six days.

Leahy also took aim at the newer practice, dubbed "pharming," that doesn't use e-mail, but instead exploits browser vulnerabilities to redirect users to phony sites or overlays bogus account access forms atop the real Web site deal.

"Neither phishing nor pharming always fit neatly into traditional wire fraud and identity theft statutes," said Leahy in explaining why the new legislation was necessary. "We need to act aggressively to keep them from eroding the public's trust in online commerce and communication."

To assuage fears of stepping on First Amendment rights, Leahy's bill would specifically protect political messages and parodies of Web sites.

Leahy is the ranking Democrat on ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, the group that will decide whether his bill should be referred to the full Senate.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest, Dec. 9, 2014
Apps will make or break the tablet as a work device, but don't shortchange critical factors related to hardware, security, peripherals, and integration.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.