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Cyber Crime: European Parliament introduces common penal standards. Monika Hohlmeier MEP


04 Jul 2013


Justice & Home Affairs

Attacks on IT systems in the EU will be subject to minimum standards of penal law. The European Parliament adopted a new EU Directive today introducing mandatory prison sentences for major attacks, for example. "There are more than 800,000 attacks a day in the EU. It is indispensable to introduce joint minimum sentences as such attacks can have destructive effects on the public infrastructure and on companies likewise", said Monika Hohlmeier MEP who is the European Parliament Rapporteur.

According to the new EU Directive, Member States will have to introduce a minimum sentence for cyber attacks of two years. Cases where there is no damage, such as youth hacker attacks, will be exempt from the minimum requirements. For widespread attacks, so-called botnets, the minimum sentence will be three years. Attacks by organised criminals which damage the infrastructure will result in a minimum sentence of five years. National anti-cyber crime bodies must coordinate their efforts and the European anti-cyber crime unit EC3 at Europol is destined to be in charge. "Cyber crime does not stop at borders so it is vital to have a comprehensive and joint set of rules to prevent and fight it successfully. The European EC3 Unit is indispensable and we ought to substantially increase the number of staff", said Hohlmeier.

Companies in Europe also suffer from cyber attacks. "Smaller companies in particular often would not use internet-based applications for fear of cyber attacks. This means that they miss out on valuable efficiency gains and it poses an economic burden on their business. Fighting cyber crime is ever-more important also for the competitiveness of European enterprises", concluded the European Parliament Rapporteur.

For further information:

Monika HOHLMEIER MEP, tel.: +33 (0)3 88 175191

Thomas Bickl, EPP Group Press and Communications Service, tel.: +32 478 215372

Note to Editors

The EPP Group is by far the largest political group in the European Parliament with 275 Members from 27 Member States.