The UK government has revealed its plans to punish cybercriminals and hackers more severely. Cyberattack may result in jail for life.
The UK government plans to amend the Computer Misuse Act 1990 to ensure that cyber criminals who launch cyberattacks face severe punishment and may be imprisoned for life. The Computer Misuse Act 1990 will sit under the proposed Serious Crime Bill.
According to The Guardian, the Queen's speech suggests that any computer system hacker who carries out "cyberattacks which result in loss of life, serious illness or injury or serious damage to national security, or a significant risk thereof" will face life imprisonment.
Computer hackers who create noteworthy economic, environmental or social disruption would also be handed 14 years of imprisonment. Currently, the Computer Misuse Act 1990 gives 10 years imprisonment in this category.
The UK minister for Organized Crime, Karen Brady, says that with increased use and reliance on computers the proposed amendments to the Computer Misuse Act is necessary. The government has to act to protect people from serious dangers that may arise from cyberattacks on critical infrastructures.
Some industry experts believe that the UK government is being proactive in the fight against cybercrimes. Simon Placks, the head of cybercrime investigations at consultancy EY, says that the government's move to hand over harsher sentences to cybercriminals is correct and will be welcomed in the business community.
However, some industry experts are also concerned that the new laws may punish security researchers. Trey Ford, a strategist with security firm Rapid7, claims that the people who found the Heartbleed security bug, which affected many people in April this year, may have got punished under the UK hacking laws.
"It's concerning that the law designed to protect people from cybercrime also penalises activity designed to identify areas of cyber risk," says Ford.
Many companies are trying to fight cybercrimes in an effort to protect their own confidential data as well as that of the regular Internet users. However, with the development in technology cybercrimes have also increased and harsher punishment may discourage criminals from being involved in such acts.
Private companies as well as government agencies have been targeted by hackers on many occasions in the past. In October 2012, security system of the White House was breached. U.S. government computer systems, including that of the U.S. military used to give nuclear commands, were believed to have been targeted by Chinese hackers. However, with strict security in place the cyberattack was identified and deterred on time.