Computer crime, or “cybercrime,” encompasses a broad category of offenses. While many acts of cybercrime are essentially high-tech forms of theft or fraud, some have goals other than financial gain including child exploitation or drug trafficking. Some jurisdictions have expanded legal protections against harassment and stalking to include those over the internet. Some acts of cybercrime, known as “cyberattacks,” seem intended only to disrupt or destroy computer networks. There are even federal task forces that are dedicated to prosecuting individuals who have committed a cybercrime. Common types of cybercrime are:
- Internet or Computer Sex Crimes and Child Pornography Offenses. Some types of internet pornography are classified as cybercrimes, including downloading and distributing child pornography. These types of offenses frequently result in very serious penalties.
- Theft and Fraud. There are some types of theft that are considered cybercrimes including when an individual uses the internet or a computer to defraud for the purpose of financial gain. There are also a variety of scams that are conducted online including auction fraud, credit card fraud, internet auction fraud, and others.
- Internet Drug Crimes. Internet pharmacies, importation of analog drugs, Dark Web drug distribution, and shipping controlled substances through the mail are various types of internet drug crimes.
- In some cases of cybercrime, a computer or a computer network is a target (rather than a tool) used to commit an offense. For example, a computer virus may be used in a targeted attack or it may be released onto the internet to create chaos.
Internet or Computer Sex Crimes and Child Pornography Offenses
There are many different types of pornography or sex related crimes that utilize the internet, including:
- Possession and/or distribution of child pornography
- Manufacturing child pornography
- Solicitation (using the internet to advertise a prostitute or responding to the services of a prostitute)
- Solicitation of a minor (using the internet to lure a minor to a meeting with the intention of sexual activity)
- Internet lewdness (subjecting a minor to verbal or graphic sexual content through the internet)
- Sex trafficking
Theft and Fraud Offenses
Intruding into business or personal computer networks, including servers, desktop computers, laptops, and mobile devices are types of cybercrime. Hacking a network through a virus and then using the information obtained from these devices could be used in identity theft, bank fraud, wire fraud, credit card fraud, and other fraudulent schemes. Similarly, emails sent or received and wire transfers initiated online can form the basis of fraud related charges.
Internet Drug Crimes
With the popularity of the internet, and now the Dark Web, lucrative drug trafficking has become far more sophisticated than selling drugs on a street corner. Charges can include:
- illegal controlled substance prescription sales and their shipments directly to buyers without a medical exam by a physician (drug diversion);
- selling or purchasing counterfeit and synthetic drugs (K-2 or Spice);
- illegally marketing or selling prescription drugs designed for animals but sold for humans (ie. steroids); or
- drug shippers, mailers or others involved in illegally receiving and reshipping drugs from China, Mexico or other countries;
Haas Law is one of the few firms that actually has experience handling multiple cases where cryptocurrencies (such as Bitcoin) were used as a means of payment for controlled substances over the internet.
Cyberattacks, commonly a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, is designed to interrupt or disable a server and make it unavailable to other users. This is often done by flooding a server causing it to shut down network access.
Federal allegations of internet crimes are serious. Haas Law provides highly effective cybercrime defense for people accused of a wide range of computer crimes in federal courts across the nation.