Revised German law to make hacking a punishable crime

New legislation proposed by the German government aims to make computer hacking a punishable crime.

New legislation proposed by the German government aims to make computer hacking a punishable crime.

The draft law, announced Wednesday, defines hacking as penetrating a computer security system and gaining access to secure data, without necessarily stealing data.

As part of the draft, groups that intentionally create, spread or purchase hacker tools designed for illegal purposes could be punished by law, the Federal Ministry of Justice said in a statement.

Other punishable cybercrimes include denial-of-service attacks and computer sabotage attack on individuals, which would extend the existing law that limited sabotage to businesses and public authorities. Offenders could face up to 10 years in prison for major offenses.

Although Germany already has a comprehensive penal law against attacks on IT systems, the proposed revision aims to close any remaining loopholes, the ministry said.

Some security experts warn, however, that "good" hackers, also known as "white hats" who work for security companies, could be restricted in their ability to help software makers and businesses as a result of the proposed law.

If hackers can't share their tools with the public, "white hats will not be able to get them and use them internally for testing or external security consultants won't be able to do security testing," a hacker, known by the pseudonym van Hauser, wrote in an e-mail. "It's a win-lose law in favor for the bad guys."

Van Hauser is president of The Hacker's Choice, a noncommercial group of security experts.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Blau

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?