Sweden to ban website attacks

Disabling websites through programming computers to automatically click on the same page thousands of times – so-called denial of service attacks – will be made a criminal offence in Sweden from 1st June.

There is currently no specific law banning the attacks, and other legislation is deemed insufficient to ensure convictions in many cases.

According to a draft amendment to existing hacking laws published by the government on Monday, perpetrators of denial of service attacks will face maximum sentences of two years’ imprisonment.

The Swedish national police website crashed in the summer after an attack, which was believed to have come in reaction to raids on file-sharing site The Pirate Bay. The incident is currently being treated by police as unlawful dispossession, but nobody has so far faced charges.

The Swedish government’s website also crashed after a presumed attack following the raid on The Pirate Bay, but there was too little evidence to pin the blame on any individuals.

The new law will make it illegal to carry out a denial of service attack, regardless of whether it is done automatically or manually. Prosecutors will need to show that the attack was intended to disable the victim’s system. Conspiracy to carry out an attack will also be made a criminal offence.