The Russian government has introduced a draft bill that proposes prison sentences as punishment for hackers and cyber criminals creating malicious software used in targeting critical Russian infrastructure, even if they have no part in actual cyber attacks.
The bill, published on the Russian government’s website on Wednesday, proposes amendments to the Russian Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code with a new article titled, "Illegal influence upon the critical informational infrastructure of the Russian Federation."
The article introduces punishment for many malicious acts, including the "creation and distribution of programs or information, which can be used for the destruction, blocking or copying data from the Russian systems."
When suspects found as part of any hacking operation, they will face a fine between 500,000 and 1 Million rubles (about $7,700 to $15,400) and up to five years in prison, even if the hacking causes little or no harm.
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However, if the cyber attacks lead to serious consequences or create a threat of such outcome, the bill orders the prison term of up to ten years for those involved in it.
Moreover, hackers obtaining unauthorized access to protected data have to pay a penalty of up to 2 Million rubles (approx. $31,500) and can face up to five years of forced labor and six years in prison.
The proposed bill was drafted in a short period of time after Russian President Vladimir Putin recently signed an updated doctrine on Russia’s Information Security.
The doctrine is aimed at "reinforcing the country’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, maintaining political and social stability, protecting human and civil rights and liberties, as well as crucial IT infrastructure."
According to the document, "the opportunities of cross-border circulation of data are increasingly used to achieve geopolitical, military and political (in contravention of international law), terrorist, extremist, and other illegitimate goals to the detriment of international security," the website reads.
The new bill introducing criminal punishment for hackers has been submitted to the State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian Parliament.
The move is great because Russian hackers are always in the news for cyber attacks, malware, POS exploit, banking Trojans, exploit kits, and many cyber threats.