The 28 EU member states currently have a patchwork of varying tariffs for cyber crime but will now introduce a policy across the European Union.
The decision mandates national maximum sentences of at least two years in prison for attempting to illegally access information systems. The maximum penalty for attacks against infrastructure such as power plants, transport, or government networks will be set at five years or more, higher than the current tariff in most member states.
The decision also increases the penalties for illegally intercepting communications, or producing and selling tools to do this. Cyber criminals often infect computers to form armies of zombie PCs known as “botnets” by sending spam emails containing malicious links and attachments, and by infecting legitimate websites with computer viruses.