Although computers have made a lot of our everyday tasks easier, they also bring their share of problems. Technology has advanced so quickly, it is sometimes hard to know where the line is between what is considered a non-criminal act on a computer and what actually is.
Computer crimes are basically defined as criminal acts that involve the use of a computer or a computer network. While you may be aware of some of the older Internet crimes or rather cyber crimes that have been around awhile, such as spreading viruses from computer to computer or hacking into someone's email, there are other types of computer crimes that you may not be quite as aware of. Some examples include:
-- Blackmail or Extortion
-- Criminal Copyright Infringement
You may have already known that blackmail and extortion are a crime, but hacking into someone's email account and then threatening to expose embarrassing or damaging information online about the person is an internet crime that can get you a hefty fine along with up to five years in prison.
In the state of Wisconsin, cyberharrassment is defined as sending an electronic communication in an attempt to frighten, threaten, intimidate or abuse another person. It is considered a Class B misdemeanor.
Criminal copyright infringement is basically selling a work for profit that is in the process of being distributed commercially. As an example, a movie that has yet to be released is 'leaked' online and then sold for a profit over the Internet. This type of cybercrime can carry a possible three-year prison sentence, which can double if you are caught doing it a second time.
Since the laws surrounding cybercrimes are sometimes in a gray area, it is sometimes easy to step over the line and accidentally commit a crime without even knowing it. Defendants who are accused of these types of crimes could benefit from a criminal attorney who is well-versed in these types of crimes.
Source: Complex, "The 10 Most Common Internet Crimes" Stephen Nale, Aug. 14, 2014