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Law gets tough on cybercrimes

By Fiona Lu
Date: June 04, 2003

Cybercrime COMPUTER CODE: The Legislative Yuan passed changes to the Criminal Code that are intended to make hackers think twice before engaging in destructive behavior

The legislature passed several amendments to the Criminal Code yesterday to toughen penalties for cybercrime in a bid to improve the country's ability to combat computer crime.

The revisions, proposed by the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Justice, target hackers who design and spread computer viruses or worms or access other people's computers without their authorization.

One amendment states that a person is guilty of an offence if he or she has caused significant property losses to civilians or the government by producing a computer virus in attempt to impair other computers.

If convicted, the hacker would face a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment plus a fine of up to NT$200,000.

The revision was proposed in the light of virus attacks engineered by high-tech professionals, including Melissa, Trojan horses, Code Red and the CIH virus which paralyzed over 60 million computers worldwide on April 26, 1999.

Under the second amendment, a person who accesses another's computer by unauthorized use of the owner's password or via a network loophole could face up to three years in jail, plus a maximum fine of NT$100,000.

Under a third amendment, if a suspect is convicted of stealing, deleting or altering data from a computer belonging to another person, company or agency, and thereby causes damage to those computers, he or she could face a maximum of five years in jail and a fine of NT$200,000.

That amendment was proposed in response to the lack of a legal provision against deliberate Web-site intrusions -- a situation which gained importance after a high-school student hacked into the Presidential Office's Web site in March but could not be charged with any criminal offense.

"The proposed amendment was proposed since we realized that a malicious intrusion always causes huge manpower costs when network administrators have to plug the [system's] loophole and [repair] the damage left by the hacker," said Minister of Justice Chen Ding-nan (wn).

A fourth amendment stipulates that a person violates the Criminal Code if he or she purposely impairs another person's computer operations by paralyzing their ISP system through electromagnetic pulses or flooding their e-mailboxes with junk mail or "spam."

If convicted, a violator could receive up to three years in jail or a fine of NT$100,000.

Hackers who target government Web sites will get penalties that are one-and-one-half times the penalties stipulated in the new amendments.

Original article: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2003/06/04/2003053865

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