http://www.bbj.hu/user/article.asp?ArticleID=146648 [In a related note, Hungarian hackers will soon be seeking visas for residency in Argentina. :) - WK] by Mr. Robert Smyth 15th Apr 2002 New amendments to Hungary's laws on internet crime have drawn criticism from industry players for not distinguishing enough between minor and major crimes. "The law is strict in places it shouldn't be so strict," said Dániel Nemes, CEO of internet firm telnet Hungary Rt, highlighting the fact that the amendments to Hungary's Criminal Code, which are effective from April 1, outlaw any attempt at hacking, even if no damage is caused. "[Deliberate hacking by the company] can be good for boosting a company's IT security. It's good to experiment to show systems can be protected," he said. "The law goes a bit too far. I don't think a prison sentence for changing two words is what we need," agreed András Pogány, COO of internet services firm Kirowski Kft. Nemes said the new legal provisions fail to provide stronger penalties for hacking that causes real damage, for example making a site inaccessible to users (known as "denial of service"). He said this issue will call for more lawmaking in the near future. However, a lawyer active in the field praised the amendments. "The changes represent a big step towards EU standards, bringing Hungary's internet law almost fully up to the current standard of EU internet law," said Zoltán Ormós, internet and telecom lawyer at Ormós Law Office. His office is the Hungarian legal representative of the Business Software Alliance (BSA), an international interest group established by software houses for fighting software piracy. Ormós welcomed the fact that the scope of criminally punishable activities is much wider and sanctions are more severe than before. "Before this amendment, a hacker had to cause actual damage before a crime could be considered to have been committed. Now the very act of hacking is illegal," he said. Besides hacking, the amendments criminalize illegal system penetration, manipulation of data and the intentional spreading of computer viruses. Like hacking, these crimes will be punishable by prison sentences of up to three years, even if they did not cause any harm. Nemes said the provisions on viruses are not wide and deep enough. Pogány added a further complaint: that the amendments lack practical application. "The question is the capability of enforcing it. I don't think the police are prepared. It's very difficult to prove such crimes beyond doubt, as clever hackers can cover their tracks," he said. Serious crime? It is generally agreed that it is almost impossible to quantify the extent of damage of internet-related crime. "I don't think anyone has numbers on how much is lost. Most cybercrime goes unreported because of PR considerations," said Nemes. "It could be a very high figure, taking into account how online banks and brokerages can be seriously disrupted by denial of service." Pogány of Kirowski argued that hacking does not cost the Hungarian internet industry a great amount of money, except in a few cases. "It is mainly an annoyance for most of us, while [its effect on] banking is perhaps something we will never know about," he said. He added that the potential damage is limited by the fact that payment over the internet is not popular in Hungary. Csilla Kövesdi, spokeswoman for Budapest Bank Rt, said the bank has never been hacked. "We have never had a hacking issue, but we put major resources into protecting ourselves," she said. She added that a case in which Ft 700 million (E2.9 million) was stolen from the bank by one of its customers was a card-related crime, despite some press reports that it was a result of hacking. The amendments were welcomed by Robert Braun, senior vice president of Index.hu Rt, the operator of Hungary's second biggest portal, index.hu. "It's good there are strong and well-defined laws," he said. He added that, while his own portal has been a victim of hacking, it suffered no financial losses from this. "The only reason to hack a media site is to show the hacker's ability, as there is no private user data that can be taken," he said. Safer highway Another area where the amendments make the law tougher is child pornography. "The amendments make all such activity much more serious," Ormós said. "Now, the storing of child porn on a PC can lead to three years in prison. Previously, action could only be taken if child pornography was [distributed] to other users." Ormós also said the amendments call for the establishment of a new lobby group, to be called the Internet Security Alliance, which will gather major IT industry players. He said the aim of the alliance is to throw more light on the importance of internet security, adding that the alliance will file some criminal complaints with the police as test cases. - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
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