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EC plans tougher sentences for cybercrime

Warwick Ashford

The European Commission plans to introduce harsher penalties for cybercriminals.

New laws could see jail terms for cybercrimes increased to more than five years, according to the Financial Times.

EC cybercrime officials say the current jail terms of one to three years are not severe enough to dissuade criminals responsible for increasing numbers of large-scale cyber attacks.

International cybercriminals are moving at lightning speed to defeat corporate security, attendees heard at the eCrime Congress 2009 in London in March.

Cybercriminals targeted an estimated 4.7 million computers in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa in 2008, according to the latest internet threat report from security firm Symantec.

The EC wants to bring all 27 EU member states in line with countries like the UK, France and Germany, which have longer sentences for cybercrime.

The EC also plans to set up a regional reporting system to enable EU member states to notify each other quickly of cyber attacks and related prosecutions to help improve security.

The new rules will be introduced when the EC updates the Council Framework Decision on Attacks Against Information Systems. The update is expected to be published at the end of this year.

The EC has a budget of £47m from the Safer Internet fund, which it plans to use to fund projects aimed at fighting cybercrime over the next four years.


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