The criminal offense of Computer Hacking can be charged as a crime by the State of Florida as well as the federal government. It is defined as the intrusion into a computer or computer network with the objective to change or adjust existing settings with malicious intent for the purpose of monetary gain, theft of data or plain malevolent disruption by the invader.
These attacks can be accomplished by various means such as thefts of passwords or other network login information but the primary method is the planting of malicious software that produces computer viruses and worms.
These types of break-ins usually cause damage or disturbance to a computer system as well as larcenies from devices connected through an Intranet or Extranet network which is a TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) which is the basic communication language for their connectivity.
An intranet network is a group of computers that is attached to a local business network infrastructure which may or may not have limited internet access but is mostly used between employees of a specific company for the purpose of communication and exchange of ideas whereas an extranet network grants added internet access and shares information with employees as well as vendors, suppliers, customers, and other companies.
Breaching any computer or the networks associated to them is considered hacking and is only a crime if the information contained within or attached to is stolen, or maliciously modified by the perpetrator. However, unauthorized use of another person's email account or other unapproved access of another individual or personal or company computer may lead to a computer hacking charge if the person or entity chooses to file criminal charges.
The state will usually pursue criminal hacking charges of these types under the Florida Computer Crimes Act although computer crimes are hardly ever limited to a particular locality. Because of this probability, many hacking cases are prosecuted by the federal government. Florida's computer related crime laws can be read by following this link.
In Florida a conviction for hacking as well as other cybercrimes are prosecuted as a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison as well as a fine of up to $5,000, or both. If the illegal activity creates in excess of $5,000 in damage, Florida state laws increase the offense to a second degree felony penalized by a term of imprisonment of up to fifteen years and a fine in of up to $10,000, or both. This sentence also holds true if the results of the hack hampered or interrupted state governmental operations or public services, or is perpetrated in a scheme to commit fraud or theft. In a case where it can be proved that human life was endangered, the violation is raised to a first degree felony, punishable by a term of up to thirty years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
Federal prosecution is tried under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 and is always used in the case of a "protected computer" which originally was defined as a computer or network exclusively used by the federal government or financial institutions, or affects interstate or foreign commerce or communication of the United States.
However, in 1996, the CFAA was expanded under the National Information Infrastructure Protection Act which basically redefined a "protected computer" as any computer connected to the internet.
Any individual or group convicted under the CFAA could face a prison sentence as long as 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000.
If charges have been filed for any type of computer/Internet crime under federal or state law, my law firm is dedicated to offering the best possible defense relating to any federal criminal allegations brought forward by the government as well as charges pursued by the State of Florida. As a former Assistant United States Attorney, I personally offer an aggressive and experienced federal criminal defense. As a former Assistant State Attorney for Broward County, Florida, my law firm is also the proper choice to battle any charges alleged by the state. To view all of my qualifications and understand what you should do if you or someone you care about is facing state or federal charges relating to Computer Hacking charges, as well as any other crimes involving computers and/or the Internet, click here.