Sweden seeks tougher penalties for hacking

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Sweden seeks tougher penalties for hacking

In the wake of several cyber attacks targeting Swedish government websites, Justice Minister Beatrice Ask has called for a toughening of criminal penalties for hacking and other attacks against computer systems.


Cyber attacks like ones recently claimed to have been carried out by hacktivist network Anonymous rarely result in convictions, but an ongoing parliamentary inquiry into IT-related crimes will now be tasked with taking a closer look at the penalties associated with hacking and other forms of cybercrime.

"The rules that Sweden has were designed for operations in a different era," Ask told Sveriges Radio (SR).

Currently, the maximum penalty for anyone convicted of computer hacking in Sweden is two years in prison, and many of the 3,000 cases of hacking reported in Sweden last year involve the unlawful accessing of personal information or cases where young people take over others' Facebook accounts.

However, the recent trend of cyber attacks carried out by diffuse networks is something Ask is hoping the inquiry will address as well.

"We're seeing a trend whereby attacks occur against companies, banks, and government agencies which is cause for great concern," she told SR in urging the inquiry seek tougher penalties for hacking crimes.

"We have to find different ways to mobilize resources to ensure in part that we are better protected, and in part that we signal how seriously society views these types of attacks which undermine the functioning of modern society."

A toughening of the maximum sentence associated with hacking would allow police to deploy more sophisticated surveillance techniques as well as make it easier to have a suspect held on remand, explained Anders Ahlkvist, an IT-crimes expert with the National Police Board (Rikspolisstyrelsen).

"It would also make it easier for to have relationships with law enforcement authorities in other countries in order to get information," he told SR.

TT/The Local/dl

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