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Cybercrime: Defenses Against Hacking, Identity Theft, and More

By stladmin on September 5, 2023

A man in a hoodie with his face hidden is using a laptop in a dark room.

Over the last several decades, computers have become an essential part of American life. They are almost universal in our homes and workplaces. Today, with the growth of the internet, people are able to access computers from just about anywhere.

It’s not surprising that computer-related crimes are on the rise. Businesses and individuals have concerns about the security of the information stored on computers, and computers can be used to carry out various types of criminal activity.

There has been a concerted effort by state and federal lawmakers to keep up with the changing technological landscape. New categories of crimes have been created, such as hacking, and existing crimes, such as fraud, frequently involve newer technologies.

Empowered by new laws, prosecutors often become overzealous in their haste to protect victims of so-called cybercrimes. If you have been charged with a computer-related offense, you will want to enlist the services of a criminal defense attorney who is well-versed in both the law and the technical aspects of these issues.

What Is Cybercrime?

Cybercrime is a broad legal category that includes a number of criminal offenses involving the use of computer technology. There is no precise definition of cybercrime. If you have been charged with a cybercrime, you may be prosecuted under laws designed to prevent computer-related crimes or laws covering various types of criminal offenses.

Many types of cybercrime are related to hacking, which is the act of breaking into a public or private computer system without permission. Like trespassing, hacking into a system where you do not belong is a criminal offense under Wyoming and federal law, even if the system isn’t damaged and no information has been stolen. Under the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), hacking carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years.

Federal hacking charges are enhanced when the hacker commits one or more of the following actions:

  • Accesses and obtains information
  • Commits fraud
  • Obtains something of value
  • Trespasses on a government computer
  • Damages the access or transmission of information
  • Extorts money
  • Obtains national security information
  • Is part of a criminal conspiracy

Cybercrimes That Are Criminally Prosecuted

There are many types of cybercrimes that may result in criminal prosecution, including:

  • Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information and uses it to create a new account, borrow money, make purchases, or commit some type of fraud. In Wyoming, identity theft may be prosecuted as a felony if the victim’s loss is more than $500. This carries penalties of up to ten years in prison and fines up to $10,000.
  • Ransomware is a type of malware that denies a user or organization access to their own computer files in an attempt to extort money. In Wyoming, a conviction for computer extortion carries a prison sentence of up to ten years and fines of up to $10,000. The use of ransomware is also aggressively prosecuted by the federal government, carrying a possible prison term of up to 20 years.
  • Child pornography carries strict penalties in Wyoming. Possession, generations, transmission, or reproduction of images that exploit children carries up to 12 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Federal statutes carry penalties of up to 30 years in prison for transporting child pornography across state lines or international borders.
  • Cyberstalking offenses are prosecuted under Wyoming’s anti-stalking laws. This may include acts of harassment, intimidation, or bullying. Penalties include up to six months in county jail and fines up to $750. Federal penalties include up to five years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.

Legal Defense Against Charges of Cybercrime

Cybercrimes are highly complex, and they are difficult to prove. Prosecutors often rely on testimony from unscrupulous actors who may be trying to reduce their own sentence by implicating others. The police are frequently careless when they are collecting evidence for alleged cybercrimes.

At Steven Titus & Associates, P.C., we have successfully defended clients accused of cybercrimes by employing the following types of legal strategies:

  • It was a case of mistaken identity.
  • The defendant was wrongfully accused.
  • Unlawful search and seizure
  • There was a Miranda rights violation.
  • It was just a misunderstanding.
  • You had permission to access the information.
  • You were the victim of entrapment.
  • There is a lack of criminal intent.
  • Physical or forensic evidence clears you of committing the crime.
  • Witnesses against you are not trustworthy.
  • No crime was actually committed.
  • There’s reasonable doubt regarding the case against you.

Fighting to Protect Your Freedom

Felony prosecution may result in serious jail time and threaten your gun rights, professional licenses, and immigration status. At Steven Titus & Associates, P.C., our Gillette criminal defense attorneys will pursue every avenue to get your charges dismissed or reduced so you can get on with your life.

As a former public defender, criminal defense lawyer Steven Titus knows the ins and outs of the criminal justice system in Wyoming. We are available 24/7.

Call (307) 257-7800 for a FREE consultation today

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