The German parliament has strengthened the country’s anti-hacking laws by banning the distribution and ownership of hacking tools and making it illegal to bypass a network’s security.
Although Germany, like the UK and the rest of Europe, already has computer crime legislation in place, the new law seeks to close a number of loopholes.
"Hacker attacks on IT systems are constantly evolving to the point where legislation drawn up several years ago cannot always cope with the more ingenious attack methodologies," said Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CTO at security software firm Finjan.
He said, “There is the increasing use of code obfuscation (hiding) to avoid detection. This complex attack methodology is usually achieved using so-called hacker utilities, the possession of which was not previously illegal in Germany."
The new legislation makes it illegal to distribute or acquire these utilities, as well as making it against the law to bypass a system's IT security measures.
The UK authorities are considering similar measures to help prevent the use of such hacking tools, but there are concerns that such a law could make it harder for firms to carry out hacking tests on their own networks.