Accusations of any kind of cyber offense can be grave, according to experts like Moorhead Law, a computer crimes attorney in Boulder. Conviction for such crimes can result in hefty fines (sometimes the minimum is $100,000) and even prison or jail sentences, with the most serious offenses warranting 20 years or more. Needless to say, this is not the sort of future anyone would wish for themselves, so it’s important to know a bit about how to defend yourself against computer crime charges. This guide will provide you with the rudiments.
Defining Computer Crimes
Also known as cyber crimes, these sorts of criminal offenses involve the use of digital technologies—computers, smartphones, tablets, the web, etc.—in order to commit a wide range of illicit activities. You may already know a few of the more common varieties:
- DDOS Attacks: Overwhelming services with a flood of traffic and information to deny access to regular users. Typically done to high-profile organizations to then extort them for financial gain or the exchange of important info.
- Phishing Schemes: Attempts to steal sensitive data by impersonating authority figures and other trusted individuals. May involve the use of sending malicious email links.
- Malware: Distributing any type of code or program that is designed to infect and attack computers systems without consent of the owner or user.
- Ransomware: Blocking access to a device or data until the user pays a ransom.
- Trojan Horses: Programs that are designed to appear harmless, but are actually malicious. Once executed, they can cause severe harm to a computer system.
The list goes on, of course, and other (lesser known) types of cyber crime include SQL injections, cross-site scripting, password attacks, drive-by attacks, teardrop attacks, ping of death attacks, and more. If you’re ever in doubt about definitions, though, just remember that, broadly speaking, computer crimes involve fraudulent activities, the stealing of data, limiting someone’s access to their own devices, bullying, stalking, and other such unethical actions.
Mounting A Cyber Crime Charge Defense
There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for every possible cyber crime accusation, but there are some general points you should keep in mind to improve the robustness of your defense. First, if you’re being accused of cyber crimes, it may be prudent to assume that your online and computer activities have been under surveillance. It’s possible that your devices have been searched without your knowledge (if it’s a workplace investigation), and you may even be asked to surrender some devices to authorities so they may investigate you.
If asked, you should be clear about your intention to cooperate with investigators, but also that you’ll need to speak with your attorney first. You should decline answering questions without your attorney once you know that you’ve been suspected of carrying out a computer crime, as your answers could be construed as an admission of guilt (depending on the circumstances and your responses). Once you’re able to convene with an attorney, then you’ll be able to work with them to go over the details of your situation and start devising a defense.
Again, to summarize, if you’re being suspected of a computer crime, then you should assume you’re under surveillance and contact an attorney who can help you navigate the situation.