As more and more people all over the world discover ways to fool victims using a computer, criminal defense lawyers should brush up on their knowledge of cyber crimes. Cyber crimes can be categorized in three different ways according to the Department of Justice. They are 1) the computer as a target, 2) the computer as a weapon and 3) the computer as an accessory.
The first category is using the computer as a target. One example of this is the use of computer viruses to knowingly attack other computer users. This method of attack has become increasingly worrisome. One incident stands out in our minds, which occurred in 2000. That year, a Filipino computer student released a virus called the “love” worm. The virus spread by targets opening email attachments from an unknown sender. Targets would receive the email with the heading “ILOVEYOU,” then open the attachment titled “love letter.” The attachment contained a virus which ended up crippling email systems at the Pentagon, CIA and British Parliament. The virus cost companies and government agencies $15 billion to remove.
The second category is using the computer as a weapon. This is when a person uses a computer to commit a crime that we see in the real world, such as fraud or gambling illegally. One example is the use of spyware to gather information about another computer user. This would be considered a simple type of computer fraud if it is used with malicious intent to harm others physically or financially. Another example would be investment schemes that are set up via the Internet with the intent to take and use someone’s money for reasons other than which the victim agreed to.
Also in 2000, a 15 year old Canadian boy went online under the name “MafiaBoy” in order to launch an attack on some of the most-visited sites on the Web. He succeeded in doing so and made international headlines; he even prompted an emergency security meeting at the White House. The boy did not receive any prison time for his crime which ended up causing $1.2 billion in global economic damages.
The third category is using the computer as an accessory. This is when a person uses the computer as a way to file or store illegal or stolen information. When this type of cyber crime is committed, authorities have the ability to charge them with more than one crime, which may lead to a stiffer penalty for the acts.
Theft via the internet is something that is happening quite often. Lots of times, the person committing that crime may not know they are doing something illegal. It is this issue that makes understanding intellectual property necessary. Stealing intellectual property is just as illegal as stealing real property. For instance, we know that taking a CD or DVD from a store without permission is wrong. What is not as widely known is that taking music from the Internet without the permission of the copyright owner is just as wrong.
It is important to know that cyber crimes may be pursued in criminal and civil courts. This means that once the criminal matter has been resolved, victims may sue for damages in civil court. Also keep in mind that one does not need an actual computer to be charged with a cyber crime since smartphones and tablets have become increasingly popular among users. Entering a computer system illegally and with ill intent will cause destruction on several levels and will come with severe consequences. Almost all industries rely on computers in today’s world, which makes having a computer security policy in place essential.
For those who are behind the cyber crime schemes, once they are apprehended their charges could be pretty severe. The charges could include money laundering, bank fraud, passport fraud, and identity theft. Not only will they be facing fines and/or prison time, they will likely need to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
The Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyers at The Mace Firm spends a significant amount of time in criminal courts throughout all over the United States. There are criminal lawyers all over the country, but few practice criminal defense in Charleston, Miami, Myrtle Beach, Pawleys Island, Surfside Beach, Columbia and several other areas.
If you or someone you know is facing federal criminal or state criminal charges, you will need to speak with an experienced Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyer. A federal criminal lawyer at The Mace Firm is ready to speak with you about your case. Call one of our federal criminal attorneys to schedule your free consultation.