Tough new penalties for computer hackers who jeopardise national security may come into effect in Britain under measures introduced in the Queen's Speech overnight.
The UK Government wants life sentences to be imposed on hackers that sabotage computer networks and cause deadly civil unrest through cutting off food distribution, telecommunications networks or energy supplies, under a new Serious Crime Bill.
The UK government will seek to amend the 1990 Computer Misuse Act "to ensure sentences for attacks on computer systems fully reflect the damage they cause."
Currently, the law provides for a maximum sentence of ten years' imprisonment for those who commit the offence of impairing a computer. A new, aggravated offence of unauthorised access to a computer will be introduced into the Computer Misuse Act by the government, carrying far longer sentences.
A hack that causes deaths, serious illness or injury, or is found to seriously damage Britain's national security will be punished by life in prison under the proposed new law.
Environmental damage, or serious hurt to the economy through hacking could land offenders with a fourteen year stretch in gaol if the government gets its way.
As of today, Britain has suffered no such serious cyber attacks. The UK government's National Security Strategy [PDF] nonetheless puts hacking on par with terrorists incidents, international miltiary crises and major accidents or natural hazards, as the country's highest priority risk.
Copyright © iTnews.com.au . All rights reserved.
Processing registration... Please wait.
This process can take up to a minute to complete.
A confirmation email has been sent to your email address - SUPPLIED GOES EMAIL HERE. Please click on the link in the email to verify your email address. You need to verify your email before you can start posting.
If you do not receive your confirmation email within the next few minutes, it may be because the email has been captured by a junk mail filter. Please ensure you add the domain @itnews.com.au to your white-listed senders.