From illegal access to various types of data to malware that paralyzes a whole society: all such activities fall into the general category of “hacking”, a phenomenon which the young European democracy of Ukraine must respond to in its difficult transition. The principal question is: how can Ukraine maintain a fragile balance between compliance with international obligations, adoption of measures that effectively correspond to its realities and upholding its national interests?
Status of project: Completed Department: Criminology Project duration: Project start: 2017
Project end: 2018
In today’s globalized and digitalized world, cybercrimes are one of the priority areas of criminal policy. One of the most widespread types of cybercrime is commonly referred to as “hacking”, or according to Art. 361 of the Ukrainian Penal Code: unauthorized interference in the operation of computers, automated systems, computer and telecom networks. Countering this particular crime is particularly relevant for Ukraine, since it does not only witness day to day criminal activity of this sort, but has also repeatedly fallen victim to high-profile incidents that had caused widespread harm, such as the invasion of the automated presidential election system in 2014, the 2015 and 2016 attacks on the energy sector and the spread of the Petya.A malware in summer 2017.
The focus on Ukraine is also grounded on its ongoing international cooperation in the area of cybercrime control. This is particularly pertinent to the cooperation with the EU, as underlined, for instance, in the recent EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. Furthermore, going through its transitional period with the aim to become an EU member state, Ukraine has assumed unilateral obligations to adapt its legislation to EU law.
The principal aim of this research is the evaluation of the measures that Ukraine has taken in order to counter the criminal activity of "hacking". Assessement emphasizes the coherence of measures within the system, the effectiveness of their application to counter the crime, as well as their consistency with international law obligations. As a result, improvements are to be proposed for Ukraine as well as certain generalizations with respect to implementation of cyber crime policies in transitional societies.
Preliminary research findings demonstrate that responding to hacking (as a share of cybercrime in general) is one of the strategic priorities of the cybersecurity doctrine of Ukraine. Like in other states (and the EU-level), the cybersecurity system of Ukraine has been undergoing rapid and substantial developments over the last years resulting its top ranking in Europe. The study has been able to establish the normative and institutional frameworks of system, as well as the restricted but crucial role of criminal law within its boundaries, to trace its evolution and further developments.
In the current phase, the study focuses on an assessment of the criminal law provisions. We have been able to establish several problematic areas connected to the efficient functioning of the legislation as well as a necessity to carefully examine the attempt to implement almost all the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime “CIA” offences within a single article of the Penal Code. This phase of the research will be followed by a comparative legal analysis of the respective efforts of selected EU states to respond to the crimes in question, the results of which would in particular provide insight on possible solutions of problems.