European Union against cybercrime

European Union against cybercrime

European Union means to tighten its measures against cybercrime. While Barack Obama and Xi Jinping shared about increased cooperation, on combating cybercrime  among other topics during the Chinese-US summit, the European Parliament was preparing a new law implying tougher penalties for criminals and common legal measures in the European Union.

Cybercrime is increasing and becoming more internationally spread out, as demonstrated in February by the record credit card fraud case in the United States. A cybercriminal network can be shared among several countries with, for instance the leading partner in Russia, servers in Ukraine and cybercriminals in UK. “Cyber attacks know no borders. This directive introduces common rules more than necessary in terms of criminal law sanctions. It also aims to facilitate joint action to prevent attacks and to encourage exchange of information between the competent authorities, “said Monika Hohlmeier, a spokesperson in charge of this topic at the European Parliament.

The European Union members must also cooperate more quickly and effectively in case of cyber attacks, especially to facilitate police investigation. They will make better use of the existing network of contacts, always available at any time of the day or night to respond to urgent requests within 8 hours.

For instance, companies would be liable for offenses committed for their benefit (e.g. if they have hired a hacker to gain access to a database of a competitor). The proposed sanctions could go up to the closure of the institution.

This new cybercrime directive is based on rules that are already in force in the EEC since 2005. The UK and Ireland have also decided to take part in the implementation of this Directive, but Denmark did not. The final legislation should be put to a vote in July and will be formally adopted by the European Council just afterwards.

The directive requires that States Members set a maximum penalty of two years in prison for crimes concerning illegal access to information systems, illegal retrieving of data, illegal interception of communications such as the production and sales of tools used to commit these crimes. The text includes new “aggravating circumstances” to combat more effectively the growing threat and frequency of large-scale attacks against information systems.

In addition, the draft text would introduce a penalty of at least three years for the creation of “botnets” to establish a remote control of a significant number of computers by infecting virus by through targeted cyberattacks.

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