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<a href="/news/eu-sets-stricter-penalties-for-cyber-attacks" title="EU Sets Stricter Penalties for Cyber Attacks">EU Sets Stricter Penalties for Cyber Attacks</a>
Posted on: 11 Jul 2013 

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EU Sets Stricter Penalties for Cyber Attacks


As we covered in last week’s blog post, cybercrime is big business and cyber-attacks are a growing problem that the EU wants rid of.

According to an article in The Register, under new draft laws backed by the European Parliament, businesses could be wound up in they are found to be engaging in cyber-attacks, or fail to prevent staff from participating in cybercrime.

Under the new directive, EU member states will be required to introduce a minimum penalty of two-years for cyber-attacks that involve illegally accessing or interfering with information systems, snooping on data and communications illegally, and distributing or selling malicious software.

A penalty of at least three years’ imprisonment will also be imposed for anyone found to be using botnets to establish remote control over computers via malicious programs, and a maximum of five years’ imprisonment for cyber-attacks that target government networks, transports, and infrastructure. The maximum penalty will also apply if an attack causes serious damage or is carried out by an organised crime outfit.

In minor cases it will be up to the individual member state to decide if the offence is worthy of punishment.

‘This is an important step to boost Europe's defences against cyber-attacks,’ the EU's Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström, said in a statement covered by The Reg.

‘Attacks against information systems pose a growing challenge to businesses, governments and citizens alike. Such attacks can cause serious damage and undermine users’ confidence in the safety and reliability of the Internet’.

‘The perpetrators of increasingly sophisticated attacks and the producers of related and malicious software can now be prosecuted, and will face heavier criminal sanctions.

‘Member States will also have to quickly respond to urgent requests for help in the case of cyber-attacks, hence improving European justice and police cooperation,’ the commissioner said.

Monitoring internet usage

The EU stance on cyber-attacks will be welcomed by businesses both large and small; however, it is important to know that your own systems are not being used to conduct illegal activity. Employees are often left to their own devices and, while you may trust your staff, it is often impossible to keep watch over the shoulders of employees to ensure they are using the internet as they should be. A person found to be involved in cybercrime while using a computer belonging to your business could result in your company being severely punished.

To prevent this from becoming an issue, you should make sure that you have Cloud Web Security in place. This will allow you to monitor and control internet usage on all systems and ensure staff are only able to visit websites that are necessary for business operations. Cloud Web Security will safeguard your company against both incoming and potential outgoing threats, and eliminate the issue of cybercrime.

The Register