Is Hacking a Crime?

Posted on in Computer Crime

Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerIt was in late 2018 when Russian citizen, Anton Bogdanov, was deported from Thailand to the United States. Recently, at the end of April, the US Federal Court leveled several accusations against him. Included in those accusations was the crime of hacking.

Many today are familiar with the term of hacking. Whether they have heard of hacking into a school’s system to change grades, or hacking into a banking database, everyone essentially knows what hacking is. However, is it an actual crime? If so, what are the consequences?

The Federal Laws on Hacking

Hacking is one of the more well-known terms when it comes to computer crimes. Generally speaking, it refers to the act of accessing another person’s computer system, without their knowledge or permission. Hackers, those that perform the hacking, often have very different goals, although stealing data and committing financial fraud are the top reasons.

When a person is charged with hacking, they are typically charged with an offense that violates the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Under this Act, several pieces of information are protected, meaning that people are prohibited from accessing or distributing that information. This protected information includes:

  • That which is related to national security;
  • Financial records of financial institutions or credit card companies;
  • That which belongs to any US government agency or department; and
  • Anything related to foreign or interstate communications or commerce.

When the hacking is done with an intent to defraud, it is also considered a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. It is important to note that simply possessing a harmful code is not a crime. It is only when that code is used to steal or share protected information that a person may face charges.

Penalties for Hacking

Charges under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act can be either misdemeanor or felony charges. If the hacking caused damage in excess of $5,000 and the information stolen was used for the hacker’s benefit, felony charges will apply.

Anyone charged under the Act will face penalties, although they will vary. The court will take into consideration the specific allegations, the degree of harm that was done as a result of the offense, and the method of delivering the information. Maximum penalties provided under the Act include up to $250,000 in fines and more than 20 years in federal prison, in some cases.

In Bogdanov’s case, he is facing up to 27 years in prison.

Been Accused of Hacking? Get Help from a Chicago Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

Hacking may not sound like a heinous crime, but the federal courts take it very seriously. Anyone that has been charged must speak to a federal criminal defense lawyer right away.

If you are facing federal charges, do not try to beat them on your own. Call the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel at 312-629-0669. Dedicated Chicago federal crimes attorney Hal M. Garfinkel brings his experience to the table in every case he handles. As a former prosecutor, he knows how to build a strong defense for your case, and will ensure your rights are upheld the entire time. We offer free consultations, so call now and learn more about how we can help.


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