Section 202c of the German computer crime laws

This section has come into effect over the weekend. It makes it illegal to create, possess, obtain, provide access to, yield, distribute or otherwise allow access to lots of widespread tools that can be used to breach security. Take for instance nmap.

This law does not only impede our freedom (of speech), research, decrease security and allow for misuse, but more importantly it won’t even stop the real criminals.

Stefan of the Month of PHP Bugs Project writes:

The law does not affect our freedom of speech to report and inform about security vulnerabilities and how to exploit them.

We are just not allowed to create/distribute/use software that could be used as “hacking tools”.

Where would they draw the line between reporting/informing about a vulnerability and how to exploit it and the actual source code to do it. Would pseudocode be illegal? Would literate code be illegal? Also there would be no way for security researchers to try out their work.

What will happen in the worst case if similar laws are accepted in other countries and enforced, is that vendors will rather cover up all vulnerabilities using these laws instead of securing it. That there are lots of ready-to-use exploits is good. It’s a very good incentive for security.

That there will always be a leak in a piece of software that someone will be able to find on his own will not be changed by this law. Also there will be no way to stop the real criminals from creating and distributing tools underground. Now everyone still knows what kind of tools are around and will know what to expect.

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