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Thread: US intros tougher sentences for computer crimes

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Jun 2003

    US intros tougher sentences for computer crimes

    Source: http://www.securityfocus.com/news/7132
    US authorities are to introduce harsher sentences for convicted computer criminals starting next month.

    The stiffer penalties, developed by the US Sentencing Commission to comply with a Congressional bill last year, are designed to reflect the serious damage caused by crackers and virus writers.

    However, the supposed deterrent effect of the tougher approach have already been questioned by the most famous former computer felon, Kevin Mitnick, who argues that the measures are unlikely to have the desired deterrent effect.

    The Washington Post reports that the current tariff for most computer crimes ranges from between one to ten years maximum in prison, although sentences of between 20 years and life can be levied if it's proved a computer crime resulted in serious injury or death.

    Penalties on the rise
    Under the revised sentencing guidelines, crackers convicted of stealing personal data would face an average of a 25 per cent increase in jail. This becomes a 50 per cent increase in jail time if computer crims pass on purloined data to a third party or a doubling in a sentence if sensitive data is posted on the Net.

    Crackers who trespass into government and military computers, or break into the networks of systems controlling critical national infrastructure systems, also face a doubling in jail time.

    Meanwhile, break-ins to online accounts would be punishable by sentences based by the amount of money in an account, even if no money is stolen. Under the new guidelines, judges can add an extra 50 per cent increase to a prison sentence if funds are nicked.

    Convicted virus authors face a 50 per cent increase in their prison sentence.

    And under the revised rules, prosecutors are allowed to factor in the cost of repairing systems and lost revenue in counting up the damage caused by a computer crime. Traditionally computer crimes only became felony offences where more than $5000 in damage was caused.

    "The increases in penalties are a reflection of the fact that these offences are not just fun and games, that there are real world consequences for potentially devastating computer hacking and virus cases," said John G Malcolm, deputy assistant attorney general and head of the US Justice Department's computer crimes section, told the Washington Post. "Thus far, the penalties have not been commensurate with the harm that these hacking cases have caused to real victims."

    The revised sentencing guidelines only apply in prosecutions of adults (not juvenile court cases) that commence on 1 November. Judges will still have the power to decide sentences based on the aggravating and mitigating factors of a particular case. It's just that the starting point in these considerations has been substantially raised.

    Mitnick, who spent almost six years in prison, has expressed doubts about the deterrent effect of the tougher sentencing regime.

    "The person who's carrying out the act doesn't think about the consequences, and certainly doesn't think they're going to get caught," Mitnick told the Post. "I really can't see people researching what the penalties are before they do something."

    Most computer criminals are "well educated, have little or no criminal history, commit their crimes on the job and often are seeking financial gain", according to Sentencing Commission documents cited by the paper. Half of the 116 federal computer crime convictions in 2001 and 2002 involved disaffected workers, it reports.
    The above sentences are produced by the propaganda and indoctrination of people manipulating my mind since 1987, hence, I cannot be held responsible for this post\'s content - me


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    You know what, there are going to people that disagree with me on this, but That is straight Bullshit. I mean come on. Think about it, you have **** loads of rapist and Murder's on the streets, but someone Breaks in someone's computer and you lose your mind. That is straight BS. I am not saying that is write but I am saying to do this much over something to that nature is being just stupid. You know that is one of the Problems with the US, it is more of a reactionary place then Proactive Place. I mean come the hell on.

    This is just to much. I am not saying that there should be nothing to happen but this is just to damn much. Come off it.

    This is just annyoning.

  3. #3
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    Jul 2002
    Personally, I don't have a problem with this at all and anyone who does is probably doing things they aren't supposed to. What Mitnick said was a complete line of BS. You know damn well that you aren't supposed to be on a system that you have to hack into. Don't tell me that someone hacking into a military or banking computer, doesn't know or think about the consequences.

    IMO breaking into a computer that you do not own, is no different than breaking into someone's house. If they wanted you in their home then you would have a key. Likewise, if you were supposed to be on a computer that you do not own, then you would have an account. It doesn't matter if the person doesn't lock it down properly, if it is not yours stay off it.

    I don't believe for one second that if a hacker were asked if they liked the idea of someone being on their system without permission, that they wouldn't go apeshit. Course they have no problems breaking into other peoples systems without regard.

    I think there is a serious lack of respect in the hacking community(if they even know what that word means???) They need to learn about the whole "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" concept. IMO

    Anyway, I've put in my .02
    just making some minor adjustments to your system....

  4. #4
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
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    Jul 2003
    United Kingdom: Bridlington

    I think that there is some sabre rattling and some politics here

    Tougher penalties will possibly scare off the skiddies, and those who are not very competent?

    The real "pros" will still do it, just like rapists and murderers. The only way to deter hackers is to increase the certainty of them being caught, but you can only realistically do this at the expense of civil liberties/democracy? . Now, as hackers have no respect for the privacy and civil liberties of others, I would have no respect for theirs?.........trouble is you are innocent until proven guilty?............so we are in a "catch22" situation. If the authorities are given the power to catch hackers effectively, a lot of innocent people's civil liberties will be overridden?

    I think it is right to pass the legislation, because it then gives the "moral high ground" to pressurise other governments to follow suit? This is the political aspect..............remember the Philipino and the "loveletter" virus?...................he was not convicted because he had not comitted any crime under their laws. If we are going to get any international accord on this sort of thing, someone has to make a start?

    It has been heartening to se the co-operation between the USA and Europe over child pornography, so we are getting there slowly?

    Just my 0.02


  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Dec 2002
    I think their needs to be a lot more done than just introduce tougher penaltys, the fact that already their is a possible 10 year sentence and now their trying to increase that seems crazy to me. Theirs needs to be a lot more done to define computer break ins. For example when these cases go to court the jury and judges are not going to know the ins and outs of computer security so how can they fairly sentence these hackers. I dont think any one can agree that a hacker that gains access to a computer purely out of curiosty should be dealt with in the same ways that a virus writer or someone that breaks into a computer with the intention to steal money or corprate information.
    Anyway thats just my 2cents.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Welcome to America, where we work hard to try and stop computer crimes, while violent crimes are still a problem. Yes, there do need to be penalties for hackers that cause damage, but the ones who cause no damage, take no information should get something much closer to a slap on the wrist.

  7. #7
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    Oct 2003
    Props to the US government for finally realizing what a problem internet crime is becoming. I still don't think that the laws defining cyber crime are clear enough to enforce these tougher sentences, because before you can pass sentence you must be able to get a conviction. The true hackers, as nihil said, will not be detered by tougher legislation. This, hopefully, is just the beginning of the solution.
    Malefactoris vester ante accedo...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    I agree with ol'jeb whole heartedly. The hackers know what they are doing. They should not receive any special treatment from any other criminal, breaking into a house and breaking in to a computer are only different in what ways they do it, not by breaking glass but by breaking through networks, and the point?

  9. #9
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    May 2003

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    FAQ you have some problems......

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