Abu Dhabi: The Federal National Council (FNC) is set to debate tomorrow (Tuesday) three draft laws regulating the National Media Council, preventing misuse of the right to litigation and imposing tougher penalties on IP address forgery.

High on the agenda will be a draft law proposing more than three years in prison and a fine of up to Dh2 million for IP address forgery with criminal intent.

The bill, which introduces changes in Federal Law No 5 of 2012 on combating cyber crimes, seeks to crack down on people using a fraudulent computer network protocol address with criminal intent.

Under the current law, IP address forgery is a minor offence punishable with a jail term of between 24 hours and three years, and a fine of up to Dh500,000.

IP address forgery, also known as IP address spoofing, or a host file hijack, is a hijacking technique in which a hacker masquerades as a trusted host to conceal his identity, spoof a website, hijack browsers, or gain access to a network.

The hijacker obtains the IP address of a legitimate host and alters packet headers so that the legitimate host appears to be the source.

The proposed amendment shows that the UAE authorities are keen to crack down on so-called IP spoofing by imposing harsher penalties for offenders.

The relevant article states that it is an offence to use a fraudulent computer network protocol address by using a false address or third party address for the purpose of committing a crime or preventing its discovery.

It is therefore important to note that there must be a crime committed or concealed, in addition to the IP address spoofing activity, for a person to be liable under this provision of the law.

This could be a hacking or denial of service attack, for example, which are criminalised under other provisions of the cyber crimes law.

The Cyber Crimes Law protects privacy of information from any misuse whatsoever by electronic or IT means in a host of areas.

Forging an IP address involves changing the header of an internet protocol address (that allows servers to know where information is coming from) to match someone else’s IP.

If your IP address is spoofed, this may cause you to be associated with illegal activities like hacking websites, and may also provide a hacker with access to systems that read your computer as ‘trusted’.

To report a spoofed Facebook page, go to the spoofed profile, click the button next to ‘Message’ and select ‘Report/Block’. Then click, ‘This profile/timeline is pretending to be someone or is fake’, followed by ‘Pretending to be me’ and finally, ‘Continue’.