[ISN] UK must lock down the law to stop the hackers

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Fri Mar 01 2002 - 02:08:15 PST

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    by Computer Weekly reporters 
    Thursday 28 February 2002  
     
    Lock down the law: This week Computer Weekly launches a campaign to
    get the Government to protect businesses by updating archaic UK
    cybercrime laws
    
    Leading IT user organisations and legal experts have backed Computer
    Weekly's Lock Down the Law campaign to review and update laws designed
    to protect businesses from hacking.
    
    Computer Weekly is launching a campaign on cybercrime law following
    concerns raised by the National High-Tech Crime Unit that the current
    law - which was devised before widespread use of the Internet - makes
    it difficult to prosecute hackers that damage businesses' Internet
    operations.
    
    The National High-Tech Crime Unit is particularly concerned that
    denial of service attacks, where a Web server is brought down by a
    flood of messages, may remain legal under UK law.
    
    According to government sources, the Home Office has no plans to
    change the law during this parliament or even the next.
    
    While the law remains in its current state, businesses could be
    exposed to attacks from malicious hackers (also known as crackers),
    young "script kiddies" and protest hackers.
    
    A spokesman for the IBM Computer User Association said, "Unless the
    law can respond and take the appropriate measures against the
    perpetrators of denial of service attacks, these things will
    continue."
    
    The Infrastructure Forum, whose IT manager members have responsibility
    for a combined IT budget of 25bn, was one of the first to back the
    Computer Weekly campaign. "One question that we have to answer is, if
    we are going to change the law, what are we going to change it to?"  
    said a spokesman.
    
    "The answer to this will come only after much discussion and a study
    of how other countries have legislated against denial of service
    attacks and similar crimes."
    
    IT legal experts have already started work behind the scenes to get
    the cybercrime law changed. E-business standards body E.Centre is
    working with IT lobby group Eurim.
    
    E.Centre's Legal Advisory Group plans to work on a review of the law
    that will agree a definition of e-crime and review cybercrime laws to
    see what gaps exist.
    
    A spokesman for the Information Advisory Assurance Council, which
    represents legal staff involved with IT, said UK law needs to be
    brought in line with existing European legislation. "The Computer
    Misuse Act 1990 should be revised in line with the Council of Europe
    Cybercrime Convention," he said. "Computer crimes tend to be treated
    more leniently than equivalent crimes in the physical world. This
    discrepancy needs to be removed."
    
    Roger Loosley, chairman of the Technology Lawyers Consortium, welcomed
    the Lockdown the Law campaign. "The Computer Misuse Act is over 10
    years old and only covers the unauthorised access to and modification
    of computer material," he said.
    
    "Although it is difficult to keep the law up to date with the fast
    pace of technological developments, governments should at least try to
    keep the law in sight of current practices. Those who deliberately
    cause significant damage to the commercial interests of others should
    be guilty of an offence."
     
    
    
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