Changes to the Computer Misuse Act 1990 (as discussed in Technology Update, November 2006 - click to read more) to include a new criminal offence relating to ‘hacking tools' are now in force. When announced in 2006, the new offence caused controversy amongst IT professionals who provide hacking tools for legitimate purposes such as penetration testing or identifying system vulnerabilities. It is hoped that prosecutors will take a sensible approach when applying the new law.
Amendments to the Act, which were due to be in force in April 2008, also include a new law designed to catch Denial of Service (DoS) attacks, which are committed where a network or website is disabled by a large number of emails/page requests sent in quick succession, designed to overload the network. It was felt that the original wording of the Act was not wide enough to catch all DoS attacks.