Longer jail time for cybercrimes

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Internet criminals will face tougher punishments as per a new directive from Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten.

For destroying computer data, illegally blocking access to a system or unleashing massive spam to gridlock a system, one could go to prison for up to two years; right now the maximum jail time is one year. When these acts are committed with the use of a so-called “botnet”, the  sentence could run up to three years. It will be five years when a computer crime causes severe damage to vital infrastructure, like a Government or energy network. A press release from the Justice and Security Ministry explains that Opstelten aims to tackle cybercrime because it can lead to a social breakdown and can negatively affect the confidence people have in the financial economic system. Opstelten said that there are risks in attacks via botnets, when criminals use malicious software to remotely gain control over computers. The Ministry explains that proposal explains that the new maximum punishments bring Dutch law in line with European directives. “The cross border nature of cybercrime makes a joint European approach a necessity. If all European member states would implement the same rules for punishment of computer crime, the so-called safe havens will disappear,” the Minister said. The release explained that safe havens are countries where cybercrimes are hardly or not even punishable. “When there are no more safe havens it will be harder for criminals to aim their arrows unpunished at Dutch companies, citizens and Government,” Opstelten said.