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 Wednesday, August 15, 2007

InfoWorld reports that security experts warn Germany's new antihacker law could result to more cybercrime and not less. The law, which aims to mitigate the rise of computer attacks in the public and private sectors, was approved in May by the German government and implemented on Saturday. Although Germany already has approved numerous laws to curb attacks on IT systems, the most recent one aims to close any remaining loopholes. Punishable cybercrimes include DOS (denial-of-service) attacks and computer sabotage attacks on individuals, which would extend the existing law that limited sabotage to businesses and public authorities.

The new law defines hacking as penetrating a computer security system and gaining access to secure data, without necessarily stealing data. Offenders are defined as any individual or group that intentionally creates, spreads or purchases hacker tools designed for illegal purposes. They could face up to 10 years in prison for major offenses.

Security experts from different clubs and vendors such as Chaos Computer Club, F-Secure and Kaspersky Lab, all share the same concern on the legal uncertainty the new law creates. According to them with the new law, their development of hacker tools to test and ensure network system security, which is essential to their business, could get them in trouble and bring them to court in the future.

Other groups of computer experts that develop hacking tools to test the security of computers and network systems have already pulled the out their operations in Germany. KisMAC and Phenoelit, hacker groups that offer a tool to detect security holes in networks, stopped its work in Germany and plans to resume in neighboring Netherlands.

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