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Cybercrime Briefing Convened at State Capitol

August 4, 2011
Rep. George Fontaine (R HD-11), Kīhei, Wailea, Mākena

At a recent informational briefing I convened at the State Capitol, we learned that in Hawai‘i alone, there are over 31,000 daily attacks. The highest one-day average registered at over 94,500. Every day, spyware and malware are making millions of attempts to gain access to information that belongs to someone else. It is a crime that can happen to any of us.

There are several steps we can take as Internet users to protect ourselves. As a precautionary measure, change passwords often, using difficult combinations that include special characters. Be wary of suspicious emails, do not open any attachments from people you don’t know and do not click on anything that you are unsure of. Opening attachments and clicking on suspicious links may allow personal information from your computer to be hacked or stolen by undetected malware and botnets.

Even if you think are safe because you’ve deleted the email or closed the Webpage— it’s too late. Your identity has been stolen, your passwords have been recorded, and your personal information is now accessible to criminals.

During the briefing, a live demonstration was presented that showed just how easy it is to email a fake receipt to unsuspecting customers. Then, when they open it and click on “Dispute Charge” in an attempt to reverse charges to their account, the malware steals their information without them being aware of it.

Law enforcement and prosecutors are faced with the challenge of capturing and prosecuting these cyberspace criminals. Cybercrime is still relatively new and evolving evil in this ever-growing electronic age. Technology has become a vital part of our everyday life. Equally vital, however, is learning how to keep our community safe from cybercriminals, and we will tackle this issue in the next legislative session.

My colleagues and I will work alongside law enforcement and the prosecutor’s office to create legislation that will not only expose these cybercriminals, but prosecute them as well.

The Internet has no boundaries or jurisdiction—our laws do. Together with your help, we will work to harden those boundaries, strengthen those laws and seek justice against anyone who continues to deal in any form of illegal cyberspace activity.

If you need to contact me with any issues or concerns regarding South Maui, please call my office at (808) 586-8525 or email



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