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Federal Computer Crimes

Computer Crimes Information

Just thirty-one years ago, one and a half score and one, Federal Computer Crimes did not exist. In just one generation, society has developed every possible manner of harming others one could imagine via the Internet. Thus, the U.S. Federal Government along with most Western nations have adopted tough laws to combat increases in computer crimes. The list of Federal Computer Crimes continues to grow with each passing year. So just what constitutes a Federal Computer Crime?

What Are Federal Computer Crimes?

In 1986, the use of home computers was just starting to appear. This was the era of the TRS series of Tandy Corporation computers. Adding programs to the device required hours of writing basic to a cassette tape then the time needed to play the cassette to the computer. Still, some found time to access government and University computers for the purpose of adding malicious code (viruses, worms, and more).

To combat the quickly-growing problems associated with hacking, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) was passed by Congress. Under the act, Criminal offenses include…

  • Identity theft
  • Money laundering
  • Spamming and phishing
  • Credit and debit card fraud
  • Government fraud
  • Wire Fraud
  • Hacking
  • Gaining access to restricted/password Protected computers
  • Providing unauthorized access to protected computers
  • Uploading viruses
  • Data Theft
  • Accessing restricted or private financial records
  • Accessing without authorization, websites of U.S. Agencies restricted sites
  • Illegal Interstate or foreign trafficking via computer
  • Child Pornography
  • Solicitation of a Minor via Internet
  • Stalking or other forms of Harassment via Internet
  • Interstate or foreign extortion
  • Accessing restricted or private financial records
  • Accessing without authorization, websites of U.S. Agencies restricted sites
  • Illegal Interstate or foreign trafficking via computer
  • Child Pornography
  • Solicitation of a Minor via Internet
  • Stalking or other forms of Harassment via Internet
  • Interstate or foreign extortion
  • Defrauding by means of computer and related technologies
  • High-tech crimes
  • Cyber-based terrorism
  • Espionage
  • Computer intrusions
  • Major cyber fraud
  • Spamming and phishing

Of course, since the time the CFAA was passed, numerous additions have been made to the act, most recently in 2014, providing a wide range of possible crimes listed as Federal Computer Crimes. As a general rule, computer crimes will always be Federal if they involve cross-state and/or international involvement (May, 2004).

The range of penalties for a Federal Computer Crime conviction vary widely depending on a number of factors.

What Are The Penalties For Federal Computer Crimes?

a misdemeanor violation will cost a few hundred dollars. As with most crimes, the more serious, violent, or extensive the damage, the tougher the penalties. Thus, on the upper end of the spectrum of sentencing, felony conviction fines may exceed $100,000 and prison time could result in 20+ years.

Related Information

Do you need legal representation because of a federal computer crime?