WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, bipartisan, bicameral legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), Co-Chair of the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus, Brian Schatz (D-HI), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) to fight cybercrime and help keep Americans safe from online scams was signed into law. The bipartisan, bicameral Better Cybercrime Metrics Act will improve data collection on cybercrimes, giving law enforcement and policy makers more tools to understand the size and scope of cybercrime in the United States.
“Cybercrime is a major threat to our national security and has steadily increased in recent years, putting private information and energy dependability at risk,” said Senator Tillis. “The time has come for Congress to act on these growing threats by giving law enforcement and policymakers the tools needed to improve data collection and respond to cyber-attacks. I am proud to have worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get this necessary and timely legislation signed into law.”
Each year, hundreds of thousands of Americans are targets of cybercrime incidents that cost billions of dollars. Whether done through online scams and fraud, corporate data breaches, or ransomware attacks, the cost of cybercrime has been increasing annually, from $3.5 billion in 2019 to $4.2 billion in 2020, and impacts an estimated 300,000 to 700,000 cybercrime victims each year.
Unfortunately, these numbers are likely low, as there are no comprehensive metrics on the scale and impact of cybercrime in the United States, or on law enforcement efforts against them. Only 10 to 12 percent of all estimated cybercrime victims report cybercrime incidents in the United States, while other estimates have put that number much higher.
The Better Cybercrime Metrics Act will give law enforcement a clearer picture of online crimes in the United States by requiring the FBI to integrate cybercrime incidents into its current reporting streams to better understand all the types of crime that Americans face. As cybercriminals continue to target vulnerable populations, this data will help lawmakers make an informed case for policy changes to curtail the cybercrime wave, keep Americans safe, and bring these criminals to justice.
The Better Cybercrime Metrics Act will:
- Require the FBI to report metrics on cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime categories, just as they do for other types of property crime;
- Encourage local and federal law enforcement agencies to report incidents of cybercrime in their jurisdictions to the FBI;
- Authorize a study at the National Academies of Science to create a taxonomy for cybercrime incidents in consultation with federal, state, local, and tribal stakeholders, criminologists, and business leaders that would inform the FBI’s reporting of cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime; and
- Require the Bureau of Justice Statistics at the Department of Justice and the Census Bureau to include questions related to cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime as part of its annual National Crime Victimization Survey.
The full text of the bill can be found here.