When someone is accused of a “cyber crime,” the specifics of their case can vary quite significantly. This is because there are many different types of criminal offenses involving the internet. Those accused of such crimes in North Carolina should understand the different terms that might be used to describe the charges they face, as each may have its own possible defenses, evidence requirements and outcomes.
The most common types of cyber crimes include the following:
- Hacking: Those charged with hacking are essentially charged with accessing digital data they are not authorized to access. Hacking can be smaller in scale, or it can involve infiltrating networks of major companies and governments.
- Malware: Malware is short for “malicious software.” This is code created specifically to disrupt the functioning of a computer. Sometimes, malware can be used for hacking, and in other circumstances, it might be used to lock a computer until a ransom is paid. The latter is referred to as “ransomware.”
- Identity Theft: Identity theft is not always a crime that involves the internet. However, the digital world provides a myriad of new ways to assume someone else’s identity. Creating accounts pretending to be another person or accessing someone else’s accounts (for example, online banking accounts) is illegal, just as non-digital identity theft would be.
There are other cybercrimes that one may be accused of. For example, crimes like fraud and piracy often have a digital component. Those accused of such crimes could significantly benefit from speaking to a North Carolina lawyer with experience in such matters in order to understand the nature of the charges and what defense options exist.