Europe must build stronger defenses against cyber attacks and enforce harsher punishments against convicted hackers, the European Commission said yesterday.
According to AFP, the commission proposed a new regulation imposing a prison sentence of at least two years for using malicious software or stealing computer passwords to commit a crime. For more serious crimes committed by a criminal organization, the sentence would be at least five years, the commission said.
In an effort to boost cooperation between EU nations, the European Union’s executive arm also proposed to bolster and upgrade the European Network and Information Security Agency.
European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström noted it is time for the commission to intensify its efforts against cyber crime.
“The proposals we are putting forward today are one important step, as we criminalize the creation and selling of malicious software and improve European police cooperation,” she was quoted as saying by AFP.
In the beginning of 2009, several EU states were the target of a botnet that infected the computers of armed forces in France, Germany and Britain, the commission said.
The Stuxnet worm attacking computers in Iran demonstrates that such threats are “enormous,” Malmström said.