Computer Hacking Defense Lawyer
Under 18 U.S.C. § 1030, certain types of Hacking Crimes are punishable by imprisonment of up to 10 years and up to 20 years if the defendant has been convicted under another offense.
Enacted in 1986, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act makes computer hacking a federal offense. Individuals found guilty of hacking a government, business, or personal computer can face years in prison and tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.
Computer Hacking Explained
From spying on an old girlfriend or boyfriend to stealing secrets from the federal government, hacking can take many forms. Hacking may be used to gain access to:
- Personal information
- Credit card information
- Financial records or accounts
- Proprietary business information
- U.S. Government records
Under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), 18 U.S.C. Section 1030, hacking almost any computer – for whatever reason or motive – is a serious crime. The CFAA applies to government, business, and personal computers, and makes it illegal to access any “protected computer” without its owner’s knowledge and authorization. The CFAA specifically prohibits:
- Hacking a U.S. Government computer
- Hacking a business or personal computer in order to gain access to financial information or commit identity theft
- Hacking a computer in order to steal something of value
- Hacking a computer in order to cause damage or destroy files or information
- Attempting to hack a computer for any of these purposes, even if you are not successful
Anyone found violating the CFAA is likely to face a federal investigation and serious criminal charges.
In addition to facing charges under the CFAA, individuals accused of illegal hacking may face charges under a number of other federal statutes as well. These may include laws pertaining to wire fraud, computer fraud, and identity theft. Depending on the specific allegations in your case, you may also face charges for crimes such as bank fraud, credit card fraud, counterfeiting, or embezzlement.
Defending Against Computer Hacking Charges
At the Oberheiden, P.C., we provide aggressive, experienced representation for individuals under investigation or charged with illegal computer hacking. If you are facing federal computer hacking charges, let us put our knowledge and experience to work for you.
Penalties for Criminal Computer Hacking
The CFAA carries strict penalties for computer hacking. In most cases, hacking is punishable by fines and up to ten years in prison. However, the penalties become even more severe in cases involving multiple or repeated offenses under the CFAA and hacking attempts that are intended to cause physical harm. In addition, if you are facing charges under other states in addition to the CFAA, prosecutors can quickly make a case for pursuing millions of dollars in fines and several decades behind bars. At Oberheiden, P.C., we are experienced in fighting complex criminal hacking cases, and we can use our experienced criminal defense lawyers and former federal prosecutors to seek to have your charges dismissed.
Computer Hacker Pleads Guilty to $100 Million Scheme
In one of the most widely-publicized computer hacking schemes to date, a 20-year-old hacker pleaded guilty in early 2015 to participating in a ring that gained unauthorized access to computer networks of various companies, including Microsoft Corporation, Epic Games Inc., Valve Corporation, and Zombie Studios. The defendant, Nathan Leroux, admitted to hacking the networks in order to steal information relating to the design of the then-unreleased Xbox One gaming console, the Xbox Live system, and several games including “FIFA” titles and “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.”
After gaining access to the information, Leroux used it to develop a counterfeit Xbox One console and to program millions of “coins” used as in-game currency. Leroux and his co-conspirators sold bulk quantities of the coins on black markets. All together, the hacking scheme was estimated to cost Microsoft and the other companies between $100 million and $200 million, and the federal government seized over $620,000 from Leroux and others relating to the illegal conduct. The charges to which Leroux pleaded guilty included conspiracy to commit computer intrusions and criminal copyright infringement. You can read more in this press release from the United States Attorney’s Office.
Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer at Oberheiden, P.C.
The criminal defense attorneys at Oberheiden, P.C. provide vigorous representation for computer hacking charges throughout the country. If the federal government is building a case against you, you need to act as quickly as possible so that we can help you prepare the strongest possible defense. We offer free consultations over the phone and in person. To speak with one of our attorneys about your case, please call (888) 727-5154 or contact us online today.