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UK’s ‘outdated’ cyberlaws must be reformed, campaigners say

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UK’s cybersecurity laws urgently need to be updated to protect the public from hackers, a poll shows.

Two-thirds of Britons support calls to reformulate the 30-year-old Computer Misuse Act, as it makes people highly vulnerable to attack.

The research was conducted by the CyberUp campaign, which argues that “outdated” legislation isn’t keeping up with technology.

UK’s cybersecurity laws urgently need to be updated to protect the public from hackers, a poll shows. Two-thirds of Britons support calls to reformulate the 30-year-old Computer Misuse Act, as it makes people highly vulnerable to attack. The research was conducted by the CyberUp campaign, which argues that ‘outdated’ legislation isn’t keeping up with technology

Currently, security experts must ask permission from hacking and scammers to interrogate their computers or risk prosecution.

They call on the government to do so without having to ask first, as long as it is in the public interest.

It is supported by billion-pound British technology industry leaders, various politicians and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

Currently, security experts must ask permission from hacking and scammers to interrogate their computers or risk prosecution.  They call on the government to do so without having to ask first, as long as it is in the public interest.  It is supported by billion-pound British technology industry leaders, various politicians and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI)

Currently, security experts must ask permission from hacking and scammers to interrogate their computers or risk prosecution. They call on the government to do so without having to ask first, as long as it is in the public interest. It is supported by billion-pound British technology industry leaders, various politicians and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI)

Kat Sommer, head of public affairs at NCC Group, a cybersecurity firm that supports the CyberUp campaign, said: “The law – written in 1990 – did not foresee the birth of the cybersecurity profession, so it leaves ethical cybersecurity researchers in the lurch. the doubt as to whether or not they will be prosecuted simply for doing their job.

The result is a chilling effect on the cybersecurity industry, making the UK less safe from cybercriminals. It’s good to see the public’s instinct confirming what we believe to be indisputable: it’s time for an update to our cyber laws.”

Investigators say the current law makes it illegal for them to infiltrate cybercriminals’ networks and then pass information to the National Cyber ​​Security Center (NCSC) to take action.

Researchers say current law makes it illegal for them to infiltrate cybercriminals' networks and then pass information to the National Cyber ​​Security Center (NCSC) to take action

Researchers say current law makes it illegal for them to infiltrate cybercriminals’ networks and then pass information to the National Cyber ​​Security Center (NCSC) to take action

In its current form, the law prohibits all unauthorized access to computer equipment, regardless of intent or motive.

This includes devices used by cybercriminals who are unlikely to grant access, forcing security experts to “act with one hand tied behind their backs,” campaigners say.

CyberUp has lobbied for a “legal defense” to be included in the law so that investigators acting in the public interest can do so without prosecution.

A survey of 2,093 adults last month found that 66 percent of British adults supported the change.

CyberUp has lobbied for a 'legal defense' to be included in the law so that investigators acting in the public interest can do so without prosecution

CyberUp has lobbied for a ‘legal defense’ to be included in the law so that investigators acting in the public interest can do so without prosecution

It comes after a security chief warned this week that ransomware had become the biggest threat to the UK.

Lindy Cameron, chief executive of the NCSC, said hackers would continue to see ransomware as an “attractive route” as long as organizations remain unprotected.

Research has shown that there are approximately 65,000 attempts to hack small to medium-sized businesses every day.

The home secretary has previously said a review of computer abuse laws would help private investigators and police — and increase jail sentences.  In May, Priti Patel pledged to crack down on fake websites that sell compromised details, network cameras that spy on and harass individuals, and ransomware

The home secretary has previously said a review of computer abuse laws would help private investigators and police — and increase jail sentences. In May, Priti Patel pledged to crack down on fake websites that sell compromised details, network cameras that spy on and harass individuals, and ransomware

The home secretary has previously said a review of computer abuse laws would help private investigators and police — and increase jail sentences.

In May, Priti Patel pledged to crack down on fake websites that sell compromised details, network cameras that spy on and harass individuals, and ransomware.

She said: “It is critical that the government has all the right resources to ensure that those who commit criminal acts in cyberspace are effectively investigated by law enforcement and prosecuted.”

What is the Computer Abuse Act?

The Computer Misuse Act protects personal data held by organizations from unauthorized access and alteration). The law makes the following illegal:

Unauthorized access to computer equipment. This refers to entering a computer system without permission (hacking)

Unauthorized access to computer equipment with intent to commit a new crime. This refers to entering a computer system to steal data or destroy a device or network (such as posting a virus).

Unauthorized Modification of Data. This refers to modifying or deleting data, and also includes introducing malware or spyware onto a computer (electronic vandalism and information theft). Making, supplying, or obtaining anything that can be used in computer abuse crimes.

These four clauses cover a range of criminal offenses, including hacking, computer fraud, blackmail and viruses.

Failure to comply with the Computer Misuse Act can result in fines and possibly jail time.

Source: BBC

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