Feeds

Germany declares hacking tools 'verboten'

Crackers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Updates to Germany's computer crime laws banning so-called "hacking tools" have been criticised as ill-considered and counterproductive.

The revamp to the German criminal code is designed to tighten definitions, making denial of service attacks and attempts to sniff data on third-party wireless networks, for example, clearly criminal. Attacks would be punishable by a fine and up to 10 years imprisonment.

Previously, only attacks against companies and government organisations were indictable offences. The regulations, passed last week, also make it illegal for unauthorised users to bypass computer security protection to access secure data.

Under these provision it becomes an offense to create, use or distribute so-called "hacking tools". 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.

The distinctions between, for example, a password cracker and a password recovery tool, or a utility designed to run denial of service attacks and one designed to stress-test a network, are not properly covered in the legislation, critics argue. Taken as read, the law might even even make use of data recovery software to bypass file access permissions and gain access to deleted data potentially illegal.

"Forbidding this software is about as helpful as forbidding the sale and production of hammers because sometimes they also cause damage," Chaos Computer Club spokesman Andy Müller-Maguhn told Ars Technica. "Safety research can [now] take place only in an unacceptable legal gray area."

While making life more difficult for security consultants and sys admins, the new laws will, paradoxically, make it easier for police to use hacking tactics in gathering intelligence on suspects. The practice - declared verboten by German courts earlier this year - could be reinstated under the new laws, according to Müller-Maguhn. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Google recommends pronounceable passwords
Super Chrome goes into battle with Mr Mxyzptlk
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Reddit wipes clean leaked celeb nudie pics, tells users to zip it
Now we've had all THAT TRAFFIC, we 'deplore' this theft
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
TorrentLocker unpicked: Crypto coding shocker defeats extortionists
Lousy XOR opens door into which victims can shove a foot
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.