The White House has been seeking tougher sentences for hackers who are caught breaching or attacking computer networks of the government or private homes or organizations.
Though this announcement does come on the heels of a break-in by hackers into the Senate and CIA public websites, this effort had been underway well ahead of those events.
In May, 2011, the Obama administration urged Congress to take greater measures to encourage cybersecurity, such as a doubling of the length of the maximum sentence for actions that risk endangering national security. This would bring the maximum sentence to 20 years, as opposed to the current 10 years.
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Though it is not yet known whether the proposal for these harsher sentences will actually become law, it does represent just one more step that is being taken to try to fight cyber-crime, which is regularly placing itself in the spotlight over the last few weeks and months. Ever more frequently, high-profile and often sophisticated cyber attacks are being announced by the national and international media.
These recent computer network breaches have focused on large institutions and companies that had formerly given the impression of impenetrability, such as the International Monetary Fund, Citigroup, and Sony Corp.
In fact, Sony, a current victim of theft of consumer data as a result of attacks on its Playstation network, is also currently facing dozens of lawsuits as a result of their management of the crisis. It is not only the offenders whose actions are being punished, but also the victims who are aware of the events and must then adequately and respectfully cope with them. They must recognize that the individuals whose private information has been compromised have the right to be informed, and proper authorities must be promptly notified.