back to article Obama gov wants 3 yrs porridge for infrastructure hackers

The Obama administration is looking to make hacking attacks against critical infrastructure systems punishable by a mandatory three years imprisonment. It also wants an Act normally applied to mobsters to be applied to online criminals too. The proposal (8-page PDF/154KB) was among a long list for improvements to cybersecurity …


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  1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    One day politicians will learn what cyber means

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Cyber, in English, means nothing at all:

      In splitting the word cybernet, it is technical folk who have misunderstood and muddied it for the rest of the world.

  2. Daniel B.

    So now not just terrorists but gangsters?

    This is something I would usually ascribe to a REPUBLICAN party agenda, not Democratic. Between COICA and it's beefed up son PROTECT IP, the other Obama proposal declaring freeloaders 'terrorists' and now this one, it really makes me glad I don't live in the US.

    RICO should be used against true crime organizations ... you know, like the RIAA. Oh wait, someone actually did this...

  3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Please read about IT and THEN, if you have something to say, say it

    Here's a story of criminals supported by the White House? .......

    Is Obama, a post modern Canute, or a Don Quixote, or more a tricky Dickie Nixon?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a good start

    With piracy becoming a felony with mandatory prison time and now infrastructure hacking earning a minimum 3 yrs. in prison, it's a good start. Eventually hackers will come to understand that they will be punished for their crimes.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Having federal government employees (paid by our tax dollars) securing private-sector infrastructure is NOT a good thing. You want to pay to secure every idiot's stuff? What next, DHS Anti-Virus required on every new PC?

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Punished for WHA ...

      Hacking isn't a crime.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    jobs growth

    take a page from the book catch me if you can - give these people jobs to help identify the wholes that vendors either ignore or failed to catch during QA -

    There are few absolutes -

    1.) if it has wheels - you will have problems with it

    2.) if it has tits - you will have problems with it

    3.) if it can be used for Porn - it will be

    4.) if it can be access by any type of device (keyboard, network, wireless etc) - it can be hacked.

  6. Efros
    Thumb Up


    With Their Goolies!

  7. Chronos

    Sure, lock 'em up...

    But whatever you do, Br'er fox, please don't secure your systems...

    A quick check on how much it costs to lock people up like animals vs. the cost of doing a proper security audit should tell us all we need to know about this idea.

  8. Kevin 6


    Another fail by the president who doesn't have a clue.

    I think obamas mission in life is to make Bush jr. look like a great president :D

    Lets see government is in the red increase spending on the tax payers to lower business expenses. Makes perfect sense on how to balance the budget...

  9. ElReg!comments!Pierre
    Paris Hilton

    I'm puzzled

    Icon for *my* interrogations, not for the politicos (although it probably apply to them, too).

    On one hand you have laws such as what was recently passed in France, making home network owner responsible for what is accessed through their network if it is not "sufficiently" secured*.

    On the other hand you have this proposition, meaning in that no gov body (or big corpo -the ones "too big to let fail"-) has to take any step to secure their shit ever again.

    I am quite puzzled. Anyone with half a brain and very basic knowledge of "them computah thinggies" knows that "permission", as far as networks go, means "my computer sent a request to yours, you computer answered 'please come on in', so in I go". That's just how networks work.

    Now I understand that going out of your way to fake credentials may be considered a proof of bad faith, and possibly of nefarious intents. Whether that must be considered a criminal offense is debatable, I say no, it's civil matter, but I'm open to discussion.

    However, the proposed US law looks like pointing your browser to "" instead of the implicitly approved "" will send you behind the bars for at least 3 years. In the meantime, the tendency to make home user legally liable for intrusions in their network -illustrated by, but not limited to, the French law referred to above- means that home users are legally required to enforce "military-grade" security while government bodies and big corporations are (or would be) legally allowed to get away with consumer-grade security (or even no security at all).

    Am I the only one to be a bit puzzled? Frightened, even?

    DISCLAIMER: I don't vote in the US. As far as technical discussions go, I don't care about which clan is in charge down there, or pretty much anywhere else. They all look equally tech illitterate.

    *sufficiently here meaning in essence "not crackable", which is a perfect example of circular thinking: user: "I didnt post this terrorist plot" ; LEA: "well, it was posted from your IP"; user: "My network must have been cracked"; LEA: "You are required by law to secure your network"; User: "I secured it"; LEA: "Well, obviously not well enough"; user: "But I used the best standard provided by my router"; LEA: ""Too bad, shoulda gotten a better router"; user: "Ho hi Bubba, how are things? Hey what are you doing? Ouch! That hurts you brute!" -at least in theory, details depend on how tech-litterate the judge is. And we all know about judges' tech-savvy.


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    1. nrthnhorzn
      Big Brother

      On Principle...

      Yes, I agree. But this statement:

      "Now I understand that going out of your way to fake credentials may be considered a proof of bad faith, and possibly of nefarious intents. Whether that must be considered a criminal offense is debatable, I say no, it's civil matter, but I'm open to discussion."

      Not so much. If someone was to try to gain access to a military base using fake credentials, and was caught, it would certainly be seen as criminal. Trying to use fake credentials, by any means, to gain access to a network, especially one that controls vital equipment, should be seen as criminal also. We put up fences around military bases to keep people out, and we put up perimeter defenses on our networks to keep hackers out. If either are compromised by "nefarious intent" they should be dealt with accordingly.

      1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

        Re: On Principle

        My statement was strictly about the access. I understand your point, but I don't think that mere intrusion should be considered a crime. It is still illegal though, I never said otherwise. Probably not worth 3 years behind the bars, that's all.

        What you do when you're in -if you do anything- can be considered criminal, and punished as such, I have no problem with that.

  10. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Mission Impossible ..... USDFCUKd

    Uncle Sam has a really weird business model, which does not compute/is not sustainable and is criminally fraudulent when trading insolvent? ........

    And if you want to blow your mind and see what $14.3 trillion looks like, imagine the last image here times 14.3 ......

    Seems like default and start again with a Great New Virtual Beta World Order Game is most likely and therefore the only Great Game in town worth playing, for a Novel Derivative Future free of Calamitous Past Paper Trades?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't do the crime, etc

    Some people seem to think that if a network is hackable it's somehow the fault of the people running the network. I take reasonable steps to secure my property, but if a thieving scumbag breaks into my house, they are at fault. If caught, they will be dealt with by the judicial system. If you hack into someones systems you deserve to be treated in the same way.

  12. Getter lvl70 Druid

    Final icon idea

    Saint Obama - "Hope and Change"

    - to denote utter frustration at the policies of any government. Fully upgradable since we'll probably see him in the freaking UN after his Marvelous Mystery tour in the US.

  13. stubert

    RE: Don't do the crime, etc

    However, if someone stood at the bottom of your drive with a big box, then called you up asking you to put all you belongings in said box, and you did, whose fault was that?

    1. nrthnhorzn

      Re: RE: Don't do the crime, etc → #

      "However, if someone stood at the bottom of your drive with a big box, then called you up asking you to put all you belongings in said box, and you did, whose fault was that?"

      That is what hacking is?? Standing at the edge of someone's property and asking for a donation?

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