With Americans becoming more dependent on the internet, criminals have also moved to the web to conduct theft, fraud, and abuse. These crimes, referred to as cybercrimes, are performed using the internet through a computer, a network of computers, or other devices.
Federal cybercrime laws impose hefty fines and serious prison time for those convicted. Felony cybercrime laws cover a laundry list of offenses. It can include hacking, data theft, bullying, wire fraud, child pornography, and many others. Without the experience of an experienced cybercrime lawyer, it can be difficult to understand. However, a basic understanding of the types of felony cybercrimes can be a good starting point.
Cybercrimes are usually conducted through a computer, using the internet. The internet is considered a means of engaging in activities that affect interstate commerce. Therefore, the federal government policies these types of crimes. However, states like Colorado also have their own cybercrimes laws. These laws prohibit illegal conduct like hacking, unauthorized access, computer trespass, and many other activities.
TYPES OF FELONY CYBERCRIMES
Hacking is the act of compromising a digital device or network through unauthorized access. Essentially, someone breaks into a computer network or system without permission.
Hacking isn’t always done maliciously. At times, a hacker might break into an organization’s system to find vulnerabilities before criminals find them. They report those weaknesses to the organization with suggestions on how to fix the issues. However, even if these actors don’t have malicious intent, they must still have permission to enter the network.
Hacking is most commonly associated with illegal activity and data theft by cybercrimes. The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) is the primary law related to hacking.
Wire fraud is essentially mail fraud, except it’s conducted over a telephone call or through electronic communication. Fraud is a broad term, but it usually requires that the actor defraud another person out of money. To be convicted of wire fraud under federal statute, four elements must be met:
- The defendant voluntarily and intentionally participated in a scheme to defraud another out of money.
- The defendant had the intent to defraud.
- It was foreseeable that interstate wire communications would be used. The internet is a good example.
- Interstate wire communications were actually used.
The federal law prohibiting wire fraud is found under 18 U.S.C. § 1343. However, even if there were no interstate communications, the conduct may still be prosecuted under state laws.
Child pornography is a form of sexual exploitation of children. It is defined by federal law as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor. Child pornography images are also referred to as child sexual abuse. For purposes of child pornography, a child is someone who is less than 18 years old.
The expansion of the internet, advanced digital technology, and the dark web have increased child pornography. Most child pornography charges usually include internet or phone lines, which means that most charges will be a felony.
If faced with federal charges or a conviction for a cybercrime offense, the Moorhead Law Group will provide quality legal representation. Contact our Colorado computer crimes attorneys for a free consultation.