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Hacking laws are serious: Don’t forget a defense

You love to be on the computer. You’ve always been interested in coding and pushing the limits of technology.

Recently, you got in with a new crowd. One of them sent you a link and asked if you could get into the site to make a few changes. You did without considering the implications of your actions.

Whatever it was that you did ended up triggering an investigation, and the police were able to track you. They have accused you of hacking into another person’s network, violating hacking laws.

Which laws are broken when you hack into a computer?

If you hack into another party’s computer without permission, you may be breaking one of several laws. Federal hacking laws include:

  • The Defend Trade Secrets Act
  • The Electronic Communications Privacy Act
  • The Stored Communications Act
  • The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

Out of all of these, it’s most likely that you will be charged under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. This act created some significant criminal penalties for those convicted of hacking. Some possible penalties include:

  • Up to five years in prison for accessing a computer or taking information on a first offense
  • Up to a year in prison for trafficking in passwords
  • Up to five years for accessing a computer with the intention to defraud others

As you can see from these penalties, the federal punishments you face could be significant. That’s why it is so important for you to discuss your situation with your attorney as soon as you know you’re being investigated. You may be able to defend yourself and fight the charges.

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