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EU ministers agree jail terms for hackers

Hackers and those spreading viruses could be sent to jail for five years in serious cases under proposals for new laws on cybercrime approved by European Union justice ministers last week.

Ministers agreed to create a new criminal offence of  "illegally accessing an information system". The decision must be written into national laws after the European Parliament is allowed to give its opinion on the text.

"There is evidence of attacks against information systems, in particular as a result of an increasing concern at the potential of terrorist attacks against information systems which form part of the critical infrastructure of the member states [the EU]," the ministers said.

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