Computing enthusiasts tempted to emulate the hacking scene in box office smash The Matrix: Reloaded will face tough legal penalties including jail, industry experts have warned.
The British Computer Society (BCS) is concerned about the film's highly accurate depiction of hacking, and has warned users that the practice is illegal and that perpetrators face tough prison sentences.
Charlotte Walker-Osborn, IT lawyer for the BCS Information Security Specialist Group (ISSG), said: "The Computer Misuse Act has always had teeth, as was shown when a British hacker was sentenced recently for two years, the strictest sentence yet.
"The fact that in the past there have not been a high number of prosecutions under the Act has generally been attributed to a lack of reporting and insufficient resources for investigations.
"The latter is being addressed on an ongoing basis; the former will become less of an issue as prosecutions in this area become more common."
The ISSG explained that, while some forms of hacking are almost impossible to prevent, there are many simple procedures which organisations can implement to improve the security of IT systems.
"Many basic hack attempts can be prevented by simply installing, and properly configuring, a firewall," said ISSG president Phil Phillips.
"An intrusion detection system [IDS] can also be implemented which detects intruders breaking into systems or legitimate users misusing system resources.
"The IDS runs constantly on the system and notifies users when it detects something it considers suspicious or illegal."
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