Is it time to reform the Computer Misuse Act?

Last week, a 36-year-old man from the Greater Manchester area in the UK was given a two-year prison sentence for unlawfully accessing and deleting information found on servers belonging to his former employer.

Steffan Needham, an IT consultant who had been fired from the software company Voova, was found guilty under sections 1 and 3 of the Computer Misuse Act for costing the business an approximate £500,000 ($660,000) in damages.

The police investigation said that there was no question of Needham’s intentions – he had wanted revenge after being fired from his workplace.

“His actions, although just a matter of clicks on a computer, resulted in major financial loss to the company concerned, and people lost their jobs,” said investigating officer Detective Constable Giles Murphy of the Loddon Valley police cybercrime team.

DC Murphy said he hoped the case would serve “as a warning to those who may be involved in cybercrime”.

However, despite the surge in major data breaches that have enveloped the news headlines of late, convictions under the Computer Misuse Act are actually becoming less common in the UK – a disconnect that has prompted some security experts to call for reform.

Hacking crimes on the decline? Not likely

According to the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS), an approximate 4.5 million cybercrimes were committed in England and Wales last year – 3.2 million of which were reported as fraud, and an approximate 1.2 million related to computer misuse. ..Read more..

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