Cyberattacks are now a daily occurrence and hardly a week goes by when we don't hear of a major data breach -- but despite rising numbers of hacking events, prosecutions rates are falling in the United Kingdom. As reported by The Times, law firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain (RPC) has compiled the figures on how many prosecutions are pushed through the 1990 Computer Misuse Act, which allows law enforcement to charge individuals with unauthorized access to PC systems and causing damage to machines. According to the figures, the number of prosecutions under this law fell for the second year in a row in 2017. In total, only 47 cases of illegal hacking resulted in prosecutions last year, a drop from only 57 in 2016. In 2015, the UK justice system prosecuted individuals and groups 61 times under the Computer Misuse Act.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The seven Iranian hackers charged with attacking dozens of banks and a small dam near New York City may never see the inside of a courtroom, but U.S. officials hope their "name and shame" tactic sends a message to foreign governments that support such attacks. Indictments announced Thursday by the Justice Department portrayed Tehran-linked hackers reaching into the U.S. infrastructure and disrupting its financial system. It was the first time the FBI attributed a breach of a U.S. computer system that controls critical infrastructure to a hacker linked to a foreign government. None of the individuals is in American custody and it's unclear if they'll ever be arrested or whether criminal indictments in absentia effectively combat such crimes. Publicly naming and shaming such crimes linked to foreign governments is a tactic focused on by the Justice Department since 2012.
Future Tense is a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University that examines emerging technologies, public policy, and society. Earlier this week, the Justice Department announced that a grand jury had indicted former CIA employee Joshua Schulte for leaking classified information in 2016. While the indictment does not specify which leaks Schulte is tied to, several news organizations have reported that he provided the WikiLeaks Vault 7 documents, which comprised thousands of pages of classified material detailing the CIA's cyber operations and digital surveillance efforts. Among other revelations, the documents showed the U.S. intelligence community making widespread use of existing or repurposed techniques and computer programs to carry out its own operations. Unfortunately, the indictment offers frustratingly few clues as to how the government believes Schulte, a 29-year-old former member of the CIA's Engineering Development Group, carried out these leaks two years ago and how he was caught.
The hacker behind the Blackhole exploit kit has reportedly been sentenced to seven years in prison. The hacker behind the infamous Blackhole and Cool exploit kits has been sentenced to seven years in prison. This week, the Zamoskvoretskiy Moscow court sentenced seven hackers to between five-and-a-half and eight years in prison for cybercrime offenses. According to local news outlet Tass (translation), Dmitry Fedotov, aka "Paunch," is among those convicted. 'Paunch' is the creator of the Blackhole exploit kit, which was available to cyberattackers on a rental scheme for years.