MP to propose tougher cybercrime laws

Derek Wyatt will urge the government to update the Computer Misuse Act to cover denial-of-service attacks, and to raise the penalties for hacking
Written by Will Sturgeon, Contributor

The UK All Party Parliamentary Internet Group (APIG) is calling on the government to raise the penalties for crimes under the Computer Misuse Act with a motion planned by chairman and Labour MP for Sittingbourne Derek Wyatt.

APIG wants to see amendments made to the Computer Misuse Act (1990) (CMA) to incorporate the relatively recent phenomenon of denial-of-service attacks. It also wants to the raise the severity of punishments under the CMA section one, which relates to hacking offences, from six months to two years.

Such a hike in sentences would make the offence an extraditable one and bring it into line with the European Convention on Cybercrime.

Wyatt will invoke his right to a 10 minute Rule Bill. Such an act entitles Wyatt to make a 10-minute speech to the House of Commons introducing the Bill which places the recommendation on record.

A statement from Wyatt on his Web site said: "The All Party Group was hoping that an MP would have picked this up as part of the Private Members' allocation for bills but sadly no-one did so it seemed sensible given the work we undertook last year to at least place on record what we think the Bill should look like in the hope that the Government will come back to it after the General Election."

The motion to move the Bill is scheduled for 5 April. After this, in order to become law, the Bill will have to pass first reading, second reading, committee stage, report stage, third reading and the House of Lords.

Denial-of-service attacks have become a popular and powerful weapon in the online arsenal of organised crime groups. At its most basic a DoS attack will cripple a Web site or server with constant requests, creating a flood of traffic which it is unable to cope with.

Last year a number of UK bookmakers were targeted with extortion scams which threatened to cripple their Web sites ahead of major sporting fixtures if a ransom wasn't paid.

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