UK law introduces life sentence for cybercriminals
2014-06-06 0:00

By Olivia Solon | Wired

The Computer Misuse Act 1990 is to be amended to make sure that hackers that launch serious attacks, such as those on critical infrastructure, could face life imprisonment.

The Act sits under the Serious Crime Bill. In general, it outlines offences associated with hacking and associated tools (malware) that let computer systems be breached.

At the moment the offences outlines do not really account for a type of cyberattack that might be life threatening or pose a risk to national security. Section 1 of the act makes unauthorised access to computer material or a person’s user ID and password an offence. A Section 2 offence -- which is slightly more serious -- relates to committing further crimes after gaining unauthorised access to someone’s computer, for example stealing their money or using information found on their system to blackmail them. Section 3 offences include spreading viruses, deleting files, using Trojans to steal data or mounting a denial of service attack. The maximum sentence for these offences is ten years for Section 3 offences.

The proposed Serious Crime Bill, which was announced in the Queen’s Speech this week, includes the addition of a new offence under the Computer Misuse Act, which is "unauthorised acts causing serious damage".


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