Starting tomorrow, hackers who broke into 20 or more computers will face jail terms of up to seven years, according to a new judicial interpretation issued jointly by the China’s Supreme People’s Court and Supreme People’s Procuratorate.
People who hack from 20 to 100 computers, or steal from 10 to 50 user names and passwords for online-payment or stock accounts, will get at least three years in prison. And those who hack even more computers or steal more passwords will face jail terms of up to seven years.
The latest rule, an interpretation made to deal with online crimes, which were added to the Criminal Law in 2009, also applies to Chinese hackers who steal information from foreign computers, said Zhou Guangquan, a member of the National People’s Congress’s law committee and a professor in criminal law at Tsinghua University.
An official with the Supreme People’s Court’s research department, who declined to provide his name, said the judicial interpretation was issued to set specific penalties for online crimes. It was also an attempt to combat computer viruses and the increasing number of hacking cases seen recently.
By the end of June, China was home to more than 485 million netizens, according to the China Internet Network Information Center’s latest Report on Internet Development in China.
In 2010, more than one million domestic Internet-protocol addresses – individual numbers assigned to devices that are connected to the Internet – were controlled by overseas hackers, according to a report published by the State Council’s Information Office last year.
The Ministry of Public Security said the number of computer viruses seen in China has increased by 80 percent this past year, and eight out of 10 computers that are connected to the Internet have been hacked during the past five years.
The interpretation will be an effective way to prevent people from hacking computers, he added.