Facing state or federal hacking charges

If you have ever left your social media page open, you may have been surprised when a prankster friend changed your status to something strange or shocking. It was all in good fun, but you may have learned your lesson about logging out when you are walking away from your computer.

Your friend may not have caused you any harm, but his or her actions were a form of hacking. When someone accesses another person’s computer or its system without permission, the law considers it a criminal act. If you are under investigation for hacking, authorities may suspect you of perpetrating a more serious offense than changing a friend’s Facebook status.

Hacking comes in many forms

Cybercrimes are complex and often involve the violation of sensitive information. Businesses, financial institutions, medical facilities and government agencies use computer systems to store confidential and privileged information as well as to communicate that information to others. Because of this, California and federal hacking laws include harsh penalties, sometimes decades in prison for those convicted of certain cybercrimes. You may be facing accusations of any of the following types of hacking:

  • Phishing, which is sending an email attachment that contains a malware for obtaining personal information from someone else’s computer
  • Accessing the computer of a business or individual to obtain confidential or sensitive information
  • Hacking into someone’s computer to do damage to the system
  • Accessing the computer system of a business or individual to perpetrate fraud or for your own financial gain
  • Using your computer to commit extortion
  • Buying and selling stolen passwords to bank accounts or other personal records
  • Accessing the personal electronic communications of others, whether during transmission or stored on their computers
  • Overloading a computer system with traffic to prevent those who need access from attaining it
  • Installing malware on someone else’s computer until the computer owner pays a ransom

These crimes and others can drastically change your life if a court convicts you. Not only may you face criminal charges, but the alleged victims of a hacking may seek restitution in the civil courts as well. Those who seek restitution for such crimes often have unreasonable goals. For this reason, it is important to have a skilled and aggressive attorney on your side assisting you in building a case to fight any civil or criminal charges you may face related to a hacking incident.