With the increased use of computers across the world, the Department of Justice has hugely increased the number and depth of its investigations and prosecution of alleged violations of computer hacking laws. While these crimes can be prosecuted in many different ways, most federal prosecutors use just a couple of laws to prosecute the majority of conduct.
The majority of hacking cases are prosecuted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 USC 1030. Cases tend to require the government to prove two things, the first is that the computer hacked was a protected computer and the second is that it was accessed without authorization.
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A protected computer can mean any computer that is connected to the internet. It can be one provided by somebody’s employer or even a public computer like one at the library.
Without authorization is defined equally broadly. Even when a person has access to use a computer if they choose to exceed their authorization or use the computer for an improper purpose they can still be found to have accessed the computer without authorization.
Most criminal prosecutions under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act fall into one of the following categories:
- Unauthorized access of a protected computer.
- Threatening to damage a computer.
- Selling passwords with the intent to defraud.
- Damaging a computer or the information therein.
- Unauthorized access with the intent to defraud.
- Trespassing into government computers.
- Obtaining national security information.
If you would like to schedule an initial consultation, contact a Colorado criminal defense attorney, we represent clients in Denver, Colorado, and surrounding area. The Savela Law Firm, P.C. Give us a call at (303) 856-5700 or complete our inquiry form.
Violations of the computer fraud and abuse act can be prosecuted as either misdemeanors or felonies with the offense level and severity of punishment changing depending upon the motivation or culpability of the person accused. Accessing a computer and obtaining information for profit is generally a felony, as is a violation that causes a loss of $5,000 or more.
If you have been charged with computer crime a skilled Denver computer crime attorney is essential. Get in touch with experienced Denver computer crime defense attorneys Jason Savela and Ryan Dawson by filling out our online contact form or by calling (720) 726-8080.