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UK Gov plans ban on hacking tools

The Crown Prosecution service has released guidelines that will amend the current Computer Misuse Act and make the creation and distribution of hacking tools illegal, according to The Register (opens in new tab).

The actual working says "supply or offer to supply, believing that it is likely to be used to commit, or to assist in the commission of [a Computer Misuse Act s1/s3 offence]"

However, the inclusion of hacker tools in the amendments has got some experts fuming and a bit confused although it does take account software that is “available on a wide scale commercial basis and sold through legitimate channels”.

But as Bit-tech (opens in new tab) noticed, this leaves out open-source and freeware tools users vulnerable to pursuit.

It also highlights the difficulties and the issues that any legal framework will encounter when trying to deal with grey tech areas such as hacking.

Security experts and professionals alike will certainly follow closely the discussions surrounding these amendments as this will impact heavily on their day to day work.

What will happen to penetration specialists, white hackers and other testers who earn a living out of finding out vulnerabilities and weaknesses in real life services.

The guidelines have also proposed that the maximum penalty for hacking be increased to ten years imprisonment and will make a Denial of Service attack a punishable crime.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.