RealNews

Unpatched virus spreaders could be liable

Businesses which pass on a virus by neglecting to keep software patches up to date may find themselves criminally liable for damaging other organisations’ computers. IT lawyer Michael Wigley flagged the possibility of legal action during a Wellington seminar on the theme of computer security. Reaching for the broader interpretations of that heading, the seminar also touched on the challenges of ensuring acceptable conduct by employees on the company’s network and making sure the business is secure in its legal powers to bring defaulters to account. For almost two years, many have referred to “security post-September 11”. The slogan for much of the NZ Computer Society-organised seminar could have been “security post-October 30”, the date when the Crimes Amendment Act 2003 comes into force, criminalising intrusion into and damage to computers and interception of private electronic communications. However, the principles behind culpability for passing on viruses extend back to the biological arena, Wigley suggests. When IT lawyers try to establish how new law in the field will apply, he says, they often draw parallels from findings in other areas. In that light, he referred to a British case where the owners of a piggery were held at fault for poor animal husbandry practices, which had led to the release of infected animals and consequent infection on other properties. Full Story

OODA Analyst

OODA Analyst

OODA is comprised of a unique team of international experts capable of providing advanced intelligence and analysis, strategy and planning support, risk and threat management, training, decision support, crisis response, and security services to global corporations and governments.