Feeds

Germany proposes hacker law update

Fear of a Black Hat

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The German government this week published proposals to modernise the country's computer hacking laws.

The proposed update makes denial of service attacks and hacking assaults against individuals clearly criminal. Previously, only attacks against companies and government organisations were indictable offences.

Gaining access to data, without necessarily stealing information, would also become an arrestable offence. The measures would raise the maximum tarriff for computer hacking offences to 10 years imprisonment in the case of conviction for the most serious crimes.

In large part the proposals update existing laws, and bring German legislation in line with an EU resolution on information system attacks proposed in February 2005, heise reports.

Controversy has centered around a provision in the draft laws that would make it an offense to create or distribute "hacking tools", something of an ambiguous term. Critics point out that many of these tools are used by system administrators and security consultants quite legitimately to probe for vulnerabilities in corporate systems.

"White hats will not be able to get them [hacking tools] and use them internally for testing or external security consultants won't be able to do security testing," van Hauser, president of The Hacker's Choice, a non-commercial group of security experts told IDG. "It's a win-lose law in favour of the bad guys," he added.

The proposals are explained in a release by the German Justice ministry here and in greater detail here (PDF in German).

The proposed German changes in computer hacking law are similar to measures proposed in the UK's Police and Justice Bill, published by the government in January. As with Germany's draft legislation, security experts here took exception to plans to ban the development, ownership and distribution of so-called "hacker tools".

The distinctions between, for example, a password cracker and a password recovery tool, or a utility designed to run DOS attacks and one designed to stress-test a network, are not properly covered in the proposed legislation, critics say. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Rupert Murdoch says Google is worse than the NSA
Mr Burns vs. The Chocolate Factory, round three!
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Know what Ferguson city needs right now? It's not Anonymous doxing random people
U-turn on vow to identify killer cop after fingering wrong bloke
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
Think crypto hides you from spooks on Facebook? THINK AGAIN
Traffic fingerprints reveal all, say boffins
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.