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Thread: UK gov clarifies hacker tool ban

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007

    Default UK gov clarifies hacker tool ban

    Looks like the UK are looking to go down the same line as Germany.....

    UK gov clarifies hacker tool ban
    Consultants in frame? Definitely Maybe
    By John Leyden → More by this author
    Published Wednesday 2nd January 2008 15:54 GMT
    Find out how your peers are dealing with Virtualization

    The UK government has published guidelines for the application of a law that makes it illegal to create or distribute so-called "hacking tools".

    The controversial measure is among amendments to the Computer Misuse Act included in the Police and Justice Act 2006. However, the ban along with measures to increase the maximum penalty for hacking offences to ten years and make denial of service offences clearly illegal, are still not in force and probably won't be until May 2008 in order not to create overlap with the Serious Crime Bill, currently making its way through the House of Commons.

    A revamp of the UK's outdated computer crime laws is long overdue. However, provisions to ban the development, ownership and distribution of so-called "hacker tools" draw sharp criticism from industry. Critics point out that many of these tools are used by system administrators and security consultants quite legitimately to probe for vulnerabilities in corporate systems.

    The distinctions between, for example, a password cracker and a password recovery tool, or a utility designed to run denial of service attacks and one designed to stress-test a network, are subtle. The problem is that anything from nmap through wireshark to perl can be used for both legitimate and illicit purposes, in much the same way that a hammer can be used for putting up shelving or breaking into a car.

    Following industry lobbying the government has come through with guidelines that address some, but not all, of these concerns about "dual-use" tools. The guidelines establish that to successfully prosecute the author of a tool it needs to be shown that they intended it to be used to commit computer crime. But the Home Office, despite lobbying, refused to withdraw the distribution offence. This leaves the door open to prosecute people who distribute a tool, such as nmap, that's subsequently abused by hackers.

    The Crown Prosecution Service guidance, published after a long delay on Monday, also asks prosecutors to consider if an article is "available on a wide scale commercial basis and sold through legitimate channels". Critics argue this test fails to factor in the widespread use of open source tools or rapid product innovation.

    IT and the law are never easy bedfellows. While the guidelines probably make it less likely the security consultants will be prosecuted by over-zealous lawyers for actions they don't understand are legitimate, they are still a bit of a mess.

    Richard Clayton, a security researcher at Cambridge University and long-time contributor to UK security policy working groups, has a useful analysis of the proposals here. ®
    hxxp:// www theregister co. uk/2008/01/02/hacker_toll_ban_guidance/

    hxxp:// www . lightbluetouchpaper . org/2007/12/31/hacking-tool-guidance-finally-appears/

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006


    Oh great

    More idiotic bureaucracy with no understanding on the subjects they want to try to govern...........

    One to watch...........

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007


    A security hole to ruin them all! =D

    I seriously don't happen that ...... happens here.. It's the biggest sorry.. crap i've
    ever heard that it should be ILLEGAL to even HAVE NMAP AT HOME!!?!?!... Gawd
    i hope so much the government here wont make such stupid rules...

    Sorry i'm just frustrated about these new bleh-rules..
    [quote][I]I realized, that I had fallen down from the top of the mountain into a deep, terrifying and dark hole, just to find out that another mountain in front of me, much greater than the previous, was the next step in life. I began to wander uphill on the next mountain of life while I knew it would be much harder than the previous mountain. [/I]- MaXe[/quote]

  4. #4
    Junior Member default's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007


    Quick, move to Australia

  5. #5
    Jenkem Addict imported_wyze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007


    I wonder how long it'll take the U.S. to follow suit
    dd if=/dev/swc666 of=/dev/wyze

  6. #6
    Senior Member imported_spankdidly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006


    Quote Originally Posted by swc666 View Post
    I wonder how long it'll take the U.S. to follow suit
    Probably not anytime soon. The antivirus companies make virus's and then send them out and then you need their AV to get rid of it. The government probably pays for this. I really have no evidence, or basis, or pretty much anything except skepticism, but I believe they're somehow in Cahoots, I say! Cahoots! If they banned that, then how would the RIAA and MPAA get into all of our computers? In the Name of Terrorism I say!

    Actually, it was all a joke. Who knows.
    I felt like bending the bars back, and ripping out the window frames and eating them. yes, eating them! Leaping, leaping, leaping! Colonics for everyone! All right! You dumb*sses. I'm a mental patient. I'm *supposed* to act out!

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