An MP is to ask for stiffer penalties against hackers. Derek Wyatt, a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Internet Group (APIG), will introduce a motion in the House of Commons on 5 April to update the Computer Misuse Act (CMA). Part of his goal is to increase the prison time for hacking from six months to two years.

The motion will also attempt to make denial of service (DoS) attacks an explicit offence. Many, though not all, DoS attacks are currently illegal under the CMA.

The APIG, which also includes MPs Richard Allan and Brian White, issued a report last year alerting the government to the need for updating the UK's IT security legislation to address new threats to users. The government did not move on the report, and Wyatt's Computer Misuse Act 1990 (Amendment) Bill now seeks to turn the group's key recommendations into law.

Rasing hacking sentences to two years would have the added benefit of making the offence an extraditable one, bringing it into line with the European Convention on Cybercrime, the APIG said.

E-mail security company MessageLabs was among the vendors to offer its support for the amendments. The e-mail security company has long supported moves to update the CMA, particularly the APIG's call for Internet service providers to develop better practices for monitoring DoS and hacking attacks.