Cybersecurity coalition exposes that outdated law is hampering defence efforts

A coalition of cybersecurity experts, including leading consultancies and software specialists, is calling for the government to reform the thirty-year-old Computer Misuse Act which currently prohibits access to any computer system without the owner’s consent.

The coalition argues that this makes it impossible to robustly prevent or reduce the risk of cyberattacks as the law currently protects cybercriminals by making it illegal to access their computer without their knowledge and permission.

Kingsley Hayes, managing director at data breach and cybercrime specialist Hayes Connor Solicitors, said: “The Computer Misuse Act as it stands is equivalent to handcuffing cybersecurity experts while providing a protective shield around the very individuals it should be protecting the public from.

“Technology is developing at an increasingly rapid rate. It simply does not make sense to have decades old legislation in place which hinders the required efforts to protect not only businesses, but the national infrastructure in the UK.

“Reports including the recent Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report 2020 reveal worrying statistics that Britain is falling behind many Western counterparts in its readiness to act in the face of heightened cyber threats – this is especially critical during a pandemic.

Despite suffering the largest financial loss following a cyberattack in 2019 amongst the eight countries surveyed by Hiscox, businesses in Britain are still investing less in cybersecurity than many European countries.

“Effective cybersecurity requires legislation and investment to keep apace with increasingly sophisticated, opportunistic and fast acting cyber criminals.”

Hayes Connor Solicitors is a consumer data breach and cybercrime practice.

 

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