Feeds

Germany enacts 'anti-hacker' law

Will the last security expert to leave Germany turn off the lights

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Germany has introduced draconian anti-hacker measures that criminalise the creation or possession of dual-use security tools.

An update to the country's computer hacking laws makes denial of service attacks and hacking assaults against individuals clearly criminal. Gaining access to data, without necessarily stealing information, would also become an arrestable offence. The most serious offences are punishable on conviction by up to 10 years' imprisonment.

Controversy centres around provision in the laws that make it an offense to create or distribute "hacking tools", a notoriously ambiguous term. 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 covered by the new law, critics argue. Possession of dual-use tools - port scanners such as nmap or security scanners like nessus - is punishable by imprisonment of up to 12 months and a fine.

The changes in German computer hacking law are similar to measures proposed in the UK's Police and Justice Bill, which were dropped following industry pressure.

The effects of Germany's anti-hacker crusade are already beginning to bite. Security tools developers have already begun packing up shop, security consultancy Sûnnet Beskerming reports.

For example, the developers of KisMAC, an OS X wireless network scanning tool, have stopped development in Germany and are in the process of moving to the Netherlands. Proof-of concept exploit code that accompanied the Month of PHP bugs project, developed by German coder Stefan Esser, has been withdrawn.

Chaos Computer Club (CCC), the influential German-based hacker group, sarcastically comments that the law must mean German politicians reckon the country is now free of computer security problems. CCC is currently in the process of holding its DefCon-style Chaos Communications Camp hack-in outside Berlin. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Tor attack nodes RIPPED MASKS off users for 6 MONTHS
Traffic confirmation attack bared users' privates - but to whom?
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.