Beijing, Aug 30 (IANS) China has passed a new law that would punish Chinese hackers who steal information from foreign computers, officials said.
Starting Sep 1, hackers who attack 20 to 100 computers, or steal from 10 to 50 user names and passwords, 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 China Daily reported.
Though the original law was passed in 2009, a new 'judicial interpretation' was recently issued by the Supreme People's Court and Supreme People's Procuratorate.
An official with the Supreme People's Court said the new law was issued in an attempt to combat computer viruses and the increasing number of hacking cases.
The ministry of public security said the number of computer viruses seen in China has increased by 80 percent this year, and eight out of 10 computers that are connected to the internet have been hacked during the past five years.
Till June, China had more than 485 million netizens, according to data from the China Internet Network Information Centre.
In 2010, more than one million Internet Protocol addresses - or individual numbers assigned to computers that are connected to the internet - were controlled by overseas hackers, says a report by the State Council's Information Office.