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COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES 
 
Brussels, 14.7.2008 
COM(2008) 448 final 
  
REPORT FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE COUNCIL 
Based on Article 12 of the Council Framework Decision of 24 February 2005 on attacks 
against information systems 
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REPORT 1. INTRODUCTION 
1.1. Background 
The aim of this report is to assess whether the Member States have correctly 
implemented Council Framework Decision 2005/222/JHA on attacks against 
information system1 (hereinafter "the FD") in their national law.  
The main objective2 of the FD, through an approximation of Member States' rules on 
criminal law in the area of attacks against information systems, is to improve 
cooperation between judicial and other competent authorities, including police and 
other Member States' specialised law enforcement services. Given this objective, the 
FD is intended to supplement and build upon other EU and international instruments 
(in particular the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime3). 
Since the FD was adopted, successive criminal attacks against information systems 
have repeatedly underlined the need for closer European coordination in response to 
attacks of this type. The massive denial of service attack against Estonia's 
information infrastructure in May 2007 served as a timely reminder of the disruptive 
and destructive effects of such attacks. 
Consequently, the need for a complete and accurate implementation of the FD by 
every Member State has intensified since the FD was adopted. The timeliness of this 
report is further emphasised by explicit reference made to combating cybercrime in 
the conclusions of the recent meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council4, 
which also said that it was looking forward to receiving the Commission report on 
the implementation. 
1.2. 
Notifications and replies 
Article 12(2) of the FD places an obligation on Member States to transmit, by 16 
March 2007, the text of any provisions transposing the obligations imposed under the 
FD into their national law. By that date, only one State (Sweden) had transmitted a 
national text to the Commission and even that was incomplete. The Commission 
therefore sent a reminder to the Member States, asking them to send the Commission 
the text of all the national provisions transposing the Framework Decision and any 
information relating to the implementation of this measure considered appropriate. 
By the 1 June 2008 the Commission had received notifications or replies to the 
reminder from 23 Member States. No replies have been received from Malta
Poland5Slovakia and Spain. In addition, the answers from IrelandGreece and the 
                                                 

OJ L 69, 16.3.2005, p. 67. 
2 Recital 
1. 
3 http://conventions.coe.int/Treaty/en/Treaties/Html/185.htm. 

8 and 9 November 2007, see 
http://www.consilium.europa.eu/ueDocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/en/jha/97023.pdf  

While the Polish notification, submitted late on 1 July 2008, cannot be taken into consideration given 
strict publication deadlines, it will be considered latterly in actions following on from the publication of 
the report. 
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United Kingdom, as recognised by the respective governments, do not allow for any 
assessment of the implementation in these States, since the implementation has been 
delayed there.  
The seven Member States mentioned have therefore not fulfilled their notification 
obligation under Article 12(2) of the FD. This report consequently gives an 
assessment of the law of only the other 20 Member States. 
1.3. 
Method and evaluation criteria 
This report is based on the information provided by the Member States. However, 
some of the data needed are missing. Consequently, the assessment and subsequent 
conclusions in this report are partly based on incomplete information. 
Under Article 34(2)(b) of the Treaty on European Union, Framework Decisions shall 
be binding upon the Member States as to the result to be achieved, but shall leave to 
the national authorities the choice of form and methods. In order to evaluate 
objectively whether a Framework Decision has been fully implemented by a Member 
State, some general criteria have been developed with respect to Directives. These 
criteria can be applied mutatis mutandis to Framework Decisions. In particular, the 
rules implementing the FD must function effectively taking account of its aims, must 
satisfy the requirements of clarity and legal certainty, must assure full application of 
the text in a sufficiently clear and precise manner and must be implemented within 
the period prescribed.  
This report focuses mainly on the formal level of implementation of the FD's 
criminal law provisions. However, actual application of those rules is beyond the 
scope of this report. 
2. EVALUATION 
2.1. 
General point on the implementation 
The FD has been implemented in very different ways in the 20 Member States. In 
most States, the wording of the national law is close to that used in the FD. In others, 
a more indirect and general method of implementation has been applied. In many 
cases this means that the legal concepts and expressions used are not easily 
comparable. As far as possible, this report will take the general criminal law of the 
Member States into account and indicate any particular difficulties associated with 
this approach. 
2.2. Definitions 
(Article 
1) 
The 20 Member States provided no clear or full information on how the definitions 
indicated in the FD have been applied in their national law. The general context, 
however, clearly shows that the definitions in their national law match the FD well. 
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2.3. 
Illegal access to information systems (Article 2) 
The Commission considers that all the 20 Member States have incorporated the main 
obligation, i.e. to ensure that intentional access without right to the whole or any part 
of an information system is punishable as a criminal offence.  
The final sentence of the first paragraph allows Member States the option to 
criminalise such conduct only 'for cases which are not minor'. The following 
Member States have, more or less explicitly, used this option on the basis that the 
models described below correspond to 'cases which are not minor': 
–  In Austria, the legal criterion for criminal responsibility is that intent to perpetrate 
data espionage and to use the data obtained in order to make a profit or to cause 
damage must be at hand; 
–  The Czech Republic has criminalised illegal access only in cases where the data 
are subsequently misused or damaged; 
–  In  Finland, the requirement for criminal responsibility is that the data accessed 
must be 'endangered'; 
–  In Latvia, illegal access is only criminalised only "if substantial injury is caused 
thereby". 
A specific interpretation of 'cases which are not minor' is required in order to be able 
to assess whether these models are consistent with the FD. Such an interpretation is 
required to establish whether at least the core area of criminalisation intended by the 
FD is formally covered by the Member States. Article 2 aims at protecting the 
confidentiality of information systems. Accordingly, the Commission is of the 
opinion that the concept of 'minor case' must refer to cases where instances of illegal 
access are of minor importance or where an infringement of information system 
confidentiality is of a minor degree. However, the corresponding Austrian,  Czech
Finnish and Latvian rules referred to above detail circumstances, e.g. where specific 
criminal intent or specific risks or damages have occurred, which cannot be 
considered as consistent with the aforementioned understanding. Thus the 
Commission has serious reservations that the AustrianCzechFinnish and Latvian 
provisions in question comply with the FD's conception of circumstances of 'cases 
which are not minor'. 
More generally, such a divergence of interpretation and application of the option not 
to criminalise certain acts poses a serious risk to the objective to approximate 
Member State rules on criminal law in the area of attacks against information 
systems. 
The Commission accordingly considers that only 16 of the 20 Member States have 
shown that they have properly implemented Article 2 of the FD. 
Article 2(2) allows Member States to decide whether the conduct referred to in 
paragraph 1 is criminalised only where the offence is committed by infringing a 
security measure. This option has been applied in seven of the 20 Member States 
(Austria, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia and Lithuania). 
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2.4. 
Illegal system interference (Article 3) 
The Commission considers that all the 20 Member States cover the main obligation, 
i.e. to ensure that the intentional serious hindering or interruption of the functioning 
of an information system by inputting, transmitting, damaging, deleting, 
deteriorating, altering, suppressing or rendering inaccessible computer data is 
punishable as a criminal offence.  
However, further analysis of the practice in those Member States that have chosen 
relatively general provisions for implementation of this detailed Article of the FD 
may be needed to confirm this assessment. This is the case with Denmark,  which 
claims that a very general legal provision regarding destruction of, damage to, or 
removal of all types of property covers all the criteria enumerated in this article. 
While such an approach is, in principle, acceptable, the extent to which such a 
provision is applicable to attacks on accessibility may be questioned, particularly in 
cases where the damage may be only temporary6. 
The last sentence of Article 3 allows Member States the option to criminalise such 
conduct only 'for cases which are not minor'. This option has been used by six 
Member States, which have, more or less explicitly, claimed that the following 
models cover such circumstances: 
–  Austrian law criminalises interference only in "severe" cases; 
–  Czech law requires intent to cause harm or loss7; 
–  German  law requires that the information system interfered with must be "of 
considerable importance for a third party"; 
–  Estonian law makes criminal responsibility conditional on the criterion that 
"'significant damage is … caused"; 
–  Lithuanian law criminalises only incidents "whereby … damage is caused"; 
–  Latvian  law criminalises interference only when "the protective systems are 
damaged or destroyed or large-scale loss is caused". 
Again, closer definition of 'cases which are not minor' is required in order to be able 
to assess whether the above-mentioned models are consistent with the FD. This need 
has been previously discussed regarding Article 2 in section 2.3 above. 
Article 3 aims at protecting the integrity of information systems. Accordingly, the 
Commission is of the opinion that the concept of 'minor case' must refer to cases 
where the system interference as such is of minor importance or where the integrity 
of the information system is only interfered with to a minor degree. The relevant 
Austrian,  Czech,  Estonian and Lithuanian rules referred to above seem to aim at 
                                                 

As underlined in the notification to the Commission from another Member States. 

The Czech government has stated that this requirement will be dropped onadoption of the new criminal 
law. 
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exactly such circumstances and must be considered in line with the requirement that 
only minor cases of interference may be excluded from incrimination.  
However, the relevant German rule refers to the importance for a third party and the 
Latvian rule to damages to protective systems or large-scale loss. The Commission 
considers these provisions' link to the integrity of information systems is insufficient 
in order to assess whether they are consistent with the FD option to exclude from 
incrimination 'cases which are not minor', and that this is inconsistent with the FD's 
objective to approximate Member State rules on criminal law in the area of attacks 
against information systems. 
More generally, such a divergence of interpretation and application of the option not 
to incriminate certain acts poses a serious risk to the objective to approximate 
Member State rules on criminal law concerning attacks against information systems. 
Accordingly, the Commission considers that only 18 of the 20 Member States have 
shown that they have properly implemented Article 3 of the FD..  
2.5. 
Illegal data interference (article 4)  
The Commission considers that all the 20 Member States cover the main obligation 
to ensure that the intentional deletion, damaging, deteriorating, alteration, 
suppression or rendering inaccessible computer data on an information system is 
punishable as a criminal offence. Many Member States have implemented both 
Articles 3 and 4 in a single national provision. Again, in the case of Denmark, the 
Commission is not convinced that a very generally held legal provision regarding 
destruction of, damage to, or removal of all types of property is assumed to cover the 
acts related to computer data enumerated in the article. For a brief discussion of this 
issue, refer back to the comments on Article 3 in section 2.4. 
The final sentence of the article allows Member States the option to criminalise such 
conduct only 'for cases which are not minor'. This option has been used by three 
Member States, which have, more or less explicitly, claimed that the following 
models cover such circumstances: 
–  Czech law requires intent to cause harm or loss8; 
–  Estonian law requires that "significant damage is … caused"; 
–  Latvian  law (Article 243 of the Criminal Law) applies the criterion that "the 
protective systems are damaged or destroyed or large-scale loss is caused". 
As previously outlined in section 2.4 regarding the identical provisions implementing 
Article 3 of the FD, the Commission considers that the Czech law is, and the 
Estonian law must be presumed to be, consistent with the FD in this respect. As 
before, Latvia cannot be considered to have fulfilled its obligations under this point 
of the FD.. 
                                                 

The Czech government has stated that this requirement will be dropped with onadoption of the new 
criminal law. 
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The Commission considers that 19 of the 20 Member States have shown that they 
have properly implemented article 4 of the FD.  
2.6. 
Instigation, aiding and abetting and attempt (article 5) 
The Commission considers that the main obligation, i.e. to ensure that instigation of, 
aiding and abetting, as well as the attempt to commit, an offence is punishable is, in 
principle, met in 18 of the 20 Member States. Finland and Portugal have 
communicated national rules regarding attempt only and have therefore not 
demonstrated how the obligations regarding instigation, aiding and abetting are 
covered in their national law. Sweden does not provide for punishment in minor 
cases of instigation, aiding and abetting and attempt. This approach is not consistent 
with the requirements of the FD. 
The Member States have the option of deciding not to apply the obligation to ensure 
that any attempt to commit the offence of illegal access to information systems is 
punishable.  Germany and Slovenia have reported that they are making use of this 
possibility. 
The Commission therefore considers that Article 5 has been properly implemented in 
17 of the 20 Member States. 
2.7. 
Penalties and aggravating circumstances (Articles 6-7) 
The Commission considers that all 20 Member States have ensured that the offenses 
referred to in Articles 2 to 5 of the FD are punishable by reasonably effective, 
proportionate and dissuasive criminal penalties9. The penalties laid down for illegal 
system interference and illegal data interference also fulfil the specific requirements 
in Article 6(2) in the FD.  
The situation regarding the obligation to take account of 'aggravating circumstances' 
for an offence committed within the framework of a criminal organisation (Article 7) 
is more varied. 
–  The provisions notified by Austria clearly do not fulfil this obligations under the 
FD; 
–  In Danish law makes no direct reference to criminal organisations; 
–  In Finland, no reference is made to criminal organisations in the relevant law;  
–  Portugal needs to make some adjustment to its law in order fully to comply with 
the FD. 
Other Member States (Bulgaria, Italy, Latvia and Sweden) make no reference to the 
criterion 'criminal organisations' in the provisions notified to the Commission. 
However, the texts communicated however show that the obligation to apply more 
severe penalties for offences involving criminal organisations is already fully 
                                                 

It should be noted that Austria seems to question whether its own penalties for illegal system 
interference are dissuasive enough. 
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covered – albeit indirectly – by national provisions in Bulgaria, Italy and Latvia. In 
these Member States the provisions in force for all cases of the offences in question 
lay down the more severe minimum penalties mentioned in Article 7 of the FD. The 
Swedish government claims that offences committed within the framework of 
criminal organisations are fully covered by the aggravating circumstance "serious 
crime" under Swedish law, and provided a detailed explanation in this regard. 
Accordingly, the Commission considers that Article 6 has been properly 
implemented by all the 20 Member States and that 16 of them comply with the 
obligations under Article 7 of the FD. 
2.8. 
Liability of legal persons and penalties for legal persons (Articles 8 and 9) 
The Commission considers that 16 of the 20 Member States have clearly taken the 
necessary measures to ensure that legal persons can be held liable for offences 
referred to in Articles 2, 3, 4 and 5 under the circumstances described in Article 8(1).  
The Czech Republic10, Latvia and Luxemburg11 have not fulfilled their obligation to 
notify the Commission of any such rules. 
Estonia claims that its rules on civil liability cover all the cases described in Article 
8(1), but has presented no details of these rules to the Commission.  There is no 
obligation regarding the nature of the liability in question, and national rules on 
administrative or civil liability – when fully consistent with Article 8 – may in theory 
suffice. However, Estonia has not explained how its law on civil liability fully covers 
the obligations under the FD. 
Article 8(2) places an obligation on the Member States to ensure that a legal person 
can be held liable where the lack of supervision or control by a person referred to in 
paragraph 1 has made possible commission of the offence for the benefit of that legal 
person by a person under its authority. The Commission considers that 10 of the 20 
Member States have complied with this requirement. In addition to the Czech 
Republic, Estonia
,  Latvia and Luxemburg, where the conclusions drawn on Article 
8(1) also apply to Article 8(2), Denmark,  Finland,  France and Portugal have 
presented no relevant rules on the liability of legal persons. France  has stated that 
such liability follows from the rules on civil liability, but has provided no 
explanation of the exact content of this liability. 
Under Article 9, Member States shall also take the necessary measures to ensure that 
a legal person held liable pursuant to Article 8(1) and Article 8(2) shall be punishable 
by effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties. All the 14 Member States which 
presented measures correctly implementing Article 8(1) and the 10 Member States 
which have fulfilled their obligations pursuant to Article 8(2) have also fulfilled 
these obligations.  
                                                 
10 
The Czech government has stated that it has certain rules regarding civil liability in this context, but it 
has neither communicated the text of these rules nor described their content. 
11 
A proposal for rules covering this obligation was presented to the Luxemburg Parliament in 2007, but 
the Commission is not aware that it has been adopted. 
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Accordingly, the Commission considers that only 12 of the 20 Member States have 
shown that they have fully implemented Articles 8 and 9 of the FD. 
2.9. 
Jurisdiction (Article 10) 
The Commission considers that 17 of the 20 Member States have fulfilled their 
obligation to establish their jurisdiction with regard to the offences referred to in 
Articles 2, 3, 4 and 5 of the FD (based on the specific criteria set out in Article 10). 
Although the different methods for legislating on jurisdiction issues across Member 
States make comparison more difficult, the Commission finds that the article has 
been implemented well. Latvia and Portugal have not fulfilled their obligation to 
inform the Commission of their national rules implementing Article 10. 
The option provided for in paragraph 5, which gives Member States the possibility to 
decide not to apply, or to apply only in specific cases or circumstances, the 
jurisdiction rules set out in paragraphs 1(b) and 1(c) has been used and notified by 
France (in the case of paragraph 1(b)) and Austria, FinlandGermanyHungary and 
Lithuania (for paragraph 1(c)). Italy also seems to have made use of paragraphs 1(b) 
and 1(c) and Estonia and Romania of paragraph 1(c), although they have not 
formally acknowledged this. Austria has informed the Commission that it is still 
considering whether to continue to avail itself of this option. 
Accordingly, the Commission considers that Article 10 has been properly 
implemented in 17 of the 20 Member States. 
2.10. 
Exchange of information (Article 11) 
Member States are under an obligation to ensure that they use the existing network of 
operational points of contact available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The 
Commission has received no information which would enable it to assess whether 
this is the case regarding the FD in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, the 
Netherlands
, Portugal and Slovenia
Regarding the obligation to inform the General Secretariat of the Council and the 
Commission of the appointed point of contact (Article 11(2)), the Commission has 
received no clear notification from AustriaBulgaria, Italy and Portugal. 
Accordingly, the Commission considers that only 11 of the 20 Member States have 
shown that they have fully met all the obligations set out in Article 11. 
3. CONCLUSIONS 
3.1. 
Level of implementation 
This report provides a first insight into implementation of the FD by the Member 
States. It confirms the wide diversity in the ways the Member States have 
implemented penal legislation and the resulting difficulty with fully assessing the 
national legislation without looking into how it is applied in practice. 
The Commission notes that the FD is still being implemented in Member States. 
Significant progress has been made in practically all the 20 Member States assessed 
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in this report, where the level of implementation has been found to be relatively 
good.  
Obviously the major concern for the Commission are the seven Member States that 
have yet to communicate any implementing measures. The Commission invites the 
Member States which have not yet implemented the FD in their national provisions 
to correct this situation as soon as possible. The Commission also invites Member 
States carefully to reconsider their legislation with a view to stepping up their efforts 
to counter attacks against information systems. 
3.2. Future 
developments 
Several emerging threats have been highlighted by recent attacks across Europe since 
adoption of the FD, in particular the emergence of massive simultaneous attacks 
against information systems and increased criminal use of so called botnets12. These 
attacks were not the centre of focus when the FD was adopted. In response to these 
developments, the Commission will consider actions aiming at finding better 
responses to the threat posed by botnets. These considerations may cover specific 
criminalisation of certain activities that facilitate criminal use of botnets plus tougher 
minimum penalties for offences committed in the form of massive and particularly 
dangerous attacks against information systems. 
The Commission is also considering taking action to promote effective and timely 
use of the 24/7 contact points mentioned in Article 11. The need for rapid common 
actions – often including private operators – at international level to counter massive 
attacks against information systems was highlighted by serious incidents in 2007. In 
order to promote better coordination and consistency in such a response system, 
Member States should continue to consider whether the same contact points should 
be used as in the Council of Europe/G 8 networks13. The Commission will, in 
particular, consider establishment of EU guidelines on use of various international 
networks for high-tech crime issues. 
                                                 
12 
The term 'botnet' refers in brief to a collection of compromised machines running programs under a 
common command. 
13 
Article 35 of the Convention. 
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