Feeds

Germany enacts 'anti-hacker' law

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

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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concept exploit code that accompanied the Month of PHP bugs project, developed by German coder Stefan Esser, has been withdrawn.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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
UK smart meters arrive in 2020. Hackers have ALREADY found a flaw
Energy summit bods warned of free energy bonanza
DRUPAL-OPCALYPSE! Devs say best assume your CMS is owned
SQLi hole was hit hard, fast, and before most admins knew it needed patching
Knock Knock tool makes a joke of Mac AV
Yes, we know Macs 'don't get viruses', but when they do this code'll spot 'em
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Mozilla releases geolocating WiFi sniffer for Android
As if the civilians who never change access point passwords will ever opt out of this one
Why weasel words might not work for Whisper
CEO suspends editor but privacy questions remain
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.