Cybercrime is one of the greatest threats to companies across the U.S. Cyber crime poses a risk to the national security, public safety, and economic prosperity of the nation. Almost 1.5 million cyber attacks annually have been reported, which means 4,000 cyber attacks daily, 170 hourly attacks, and nearly three attacks every minute.
The most common targets are businesses, even though most attacks are incapable of breaching the organization’s security parameters. But, there is more to it:
- 47 percent of American adults experienced hacking of their personal information in 2014.
- 43 percent of businesses faced hacking, where the hackers successfully got into their systems, in 2013.
There has been a lot of talk about cybercrime in the past few years. With the staggering number of cyber crimes being reported every year, the federal government now actively participates in programs in an attempt to stop cybercrimes.
If you fail to abide by the laws, you are likely to be charged for cybercrime. You should, therefore, be prepared.
What Exactly is Cybercrime?
Cybercrimes are criminal offenses under federal law that are committed via the Internet and other forms of computer technology to get illegal access to sensitive data of an individual or a company. The most common types of cybercrimes are:
- Identity theft
- Malicious software
- Child soliciting and abuse
Often, cybercrimes are committed for reasons other than just financial gain. Since cybercrime can take many forms, the potential penalties depend on the type of cybercrime committed. Some cybercrimes are categorized as a misdemeanor, while some fall under a felony. Most common penalties for cybercrimes are:
- Fines: The defendant has to pay a fine depending upon the type of crime committed. For misdemeanors, the fines go up to $1,000, while for a felony it can exceed $100,000.
- Jail Time: Cybercrime can also lead to jail time. Serious cybercrimes, such as child pornography, can lead to a prison sentence of 20 years or more.
- Probation: The probation time for cybercrime typically lasts for a year, and the accused is required not to commit any more crimes during the probation period.
Being accused of cybercrime can have many adverse effects on your life. Even if you are not convicted, you can be facing the stigma of being a criminal.
Take the example of an employee suing the employer in New York for trespassing in his privacy (using his email account details without consent). However, the employer has cleared of the charges, since it was not intentional. You can read details of the case here. If you have been alleged for similar cybercrimes, you must get in touch with a Federal criminal lawyer at once.
Cybercrime Defense Strategies
Whether you have been accused of email hacking or cyber stalking, a seasoned criminal lawyer can help you fight the charges and get cleared of the allegations. A number of defenses can be put up in defense against cybercrime charges; however, which defense works the best for you can only be judged by a lawyer.
Here are a few common defenses in favor of cybercrime defendants:
Uncertainty of Access: A seasoned criminal would compel the prosecution to prove that the defendant accessed a certain computer at a specific time to perform the crime. Most of the time, it is very difficult for the prosecution to prove this, and the defending lawyer would use this uncertainty to attack the prosecution’s allegations.
Proof of Good Character: Oftentimes, a criminal lawyer would gather witnesses or evidence to prove that the defendant has a good moral character and a person with no intention to harm anyone. This becomes even easier if you have no history of previous crime.
Intent: This is one of the most commonly used strategies by criminal lawyers. The lawyer representing you would either try to prove that you had no intention to access computers illegally (for hacking cases) or harass anyone (for cyberstalking cases) or ask the prosecution to prove that the defendant had ill intentions.
Cybercrime can cause serious harm to the victims and, thus, is considered as a serious offense that can lead to several years of jail time. If you have been sued for cybercrime, you need to hire an experienced criminal lawyer at once. Computer and internet crimes are very complicated, involving numerous laws and extensive government investigations. This is necessary to place a defense that can prove your innocence and free you of the charges.
Whether you are a software company or an individual facing state or federal criminal charges, you need to be represented by a defense attorney with knowledge of local cybercrime laws who can provide the best legal advice based on your particular case. Be prepared and hire the best criminal lawyer to fight against the charges.
Elizabeth Stepp is Senior Counsel at Oberheiden Law Group PLLC, one of the leading criminal law firms in Dallas, Texas. She graduated from the prestigious Yale Law School. She has much experience in dealing with financial services litigation and professional malpractice cases.