EU increases penalties for cybercriminals and hackers
The European Union has decided to raise prison sentences for people found guilty of hacking, data breaches, and cyberattacks.
Lawmakers from the 28 nations in the EU decided Thursday, in a 541 to
91 vote, to assign harsher penalties to various cybercrimes, according
Included in the increased prison sentences are at least two years for
illegally accessing information systems and at least five years for
cyberattacks against infrastructure, such as power plants, water
systems, and transportation networks.
The lawmakers agreed that
the most egregious crimes are those that breach the countries’
infrastructure networks and the theft of sensitive data from computer
Other cybercrimes that got penalty increases were
illegally intercepting communications or creating tools for this
purpose. Additionally, any company that uses these tools or hires
hackers to steal data will also be liable under the new laws.
Currently, the penalties for cybercrime vary from country to country,
but most sentences top out at five years, according to Reuters. Now,
each country has two years to put the new laws into place.
The only country that didn’t sign onto the new rules was Denmark, which
said it wanted to keep with its own sentences, according to Reuters.
This isn’t the first EU vote to tighten penalties for cybercrime. In 2011, lawmakers agreed to tougher penalties for cybercrimes, including new punishments for botnet creators.
The U.S. is also working on clamp down on cybercriminals. In June,
members of the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee proposed a new cybertheft law
that would target hackers based in other countries. And, in May, a
group of senators proposed a similar bill called the “Deter Cyber Theft
Act” to protect commercial data from foreign hackers and governments.