Cyber criminals facing at least five years in jail

Cyber War

Cyber criminals could face stricter penalties, including imprisonment, under new rules adopted by the European Parliament last week.

The draft directive aims to prosecute offenders behind a wide range of cybercrime such as large scale cyber attacks.

Those found guilty of running “botnets”, stealing confidential details, and/or using malicious software could face at least two years in jail, or at least five years if serious damage has been caused or if crimes have been committed against computers critical to the nation’s infrastructure.

Those found aiding and abetting will also be penalised.

The new directive also calls for more cross-border cooperation between the judiciary and the police of member states. Member states will be obliged to comply with the new rules once it is published in the EU Official Journal.

EU commissioner for home affairs, Cecilia Malmström, said: “This is an important step to boost Europe’s defences against cyber attacks. Attacks against information systems pose a growing challenge to businesses, governments and citizens alike. Such attacks can cause serious damage and undermine user’s confidence in the safety and reliability of the internet.

“I am therefore pleased to announce that formal approval has been reached on new rules concerning the definition of criminal offences and the sanctions in the area of cyber crime. The perpetrators of increasingly sophisticated attacks and the producers of related and malicious software can now be prosecuted, and will face heavier criminal sanctions.

“Member states will also have to quickly respond to urgent requests for help in the case of cyber attacks, hence improving European justice and police cooperation. 

“Together with the launch of the European Cybercrime Centre and the adoption of the EU Cyber-Security strategy, the new Directive will strengthen our overall response to cybercrime and contribute to improve cyber security for all our citizens.”