The UK has introduced stronger laws to deal with malicious hackers. People in the UK who use computers to commit criminal acts will now face much harsher penalties. A new Police and Justice Bill published by the Home Office today will see a range of offences related to cybercrime carrying much longer prison sentences. Some crimes carry up to 10 years in jail. The criminal justice system, which had hitherto lacked behind in prosecuting cyber criminals, now seems to be catching up.
The new amendments for example, attempt to address new threats such as Denial of Service attacks by creating a new offence of preventing or hindering 'access to any program or data held in any computer'. Anyone convicted of this offence faces a jail term of up to ten years.
The new measures are seen as a response to a wave of cases of cyber criminals attempting to extort money from web sites by threatening to launch a DoS attack. Distributed DoS attacks are much easier now, thanks to botnets, where fleets of compromised systems belonging to ordinary users are utilised to make attacks without their knowledge or consent.