Feeds

Germany enacts 'anti-hacker' law

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

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

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concept exploit code that accompanied the Month of PHP bugs project, developed by German coder Stefan Esser, has been withdrawn.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

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft: We plan to CLEAN UP this here Windows Store town
Paid-for apps that provide free downloads? Really
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
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Hear ye, young cyber warriors of the realm: GCHQ wants you
Get involved, get a job and then never discuss work ever again
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
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.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
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.