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Computer Crimes


The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

Last Updated April 7, 2009

In the early 1980s law enforcement agencies faced the dawn of the computer age with growing concern about the lack of criminal laws available to fight the emerging computer crimes. Although the wire and mail fraud provisions of the federal criminal code were capable of addressing some types of computer-related criminal activity, neither of those statutes provided the full range of tools needed to combat these new crimes.

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Computer Crimes Under Federal Law

Last Updated October 14, 2008

The chart below shows the federal laws applicable to various types of computer-related and online crimes.

 

Unlawful Conduct

Applicable Federal Law

Denial of Service Attacks

18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5)(A) (transmission of program, information, code, or command, resulting in damage)

18 U.S.C. § 1362 (interfering with government communication systems)

Substitution or Redirection of a website

18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5)(A)(i) (transmission of program, information, code, or command, resulting in damage)

18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5)(A)(ii)-(iii) (accessing a computer without authorization, resulting in damage)

Use of Misleading Domain Name

18 U.S.C. § 2252B (using misleading domain name with intent to deceive a person into viewing obscene material or with intent to deceive a minor into viewing harmful material)

Extortion

18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(7) (transmitting, with intent to extort, communication containing threat to cause damage)

18 U.S.C. § 875(b), (d) (transmitting, with intent to extort, threat to kidnap or harm a person, or threat to injure a person's property or harm a reputation) (Hobbs Act)

18 U.S.C. § 1951 (interfering with commerce by robbery, extortion, threats or violence)

Internet Fraud (e.g., auction fraud or "phishing")

18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(4) (accessing a computer to defraud and obtain something of value)

18 U.S.C. § 1028 (fraud in connection with identification documents and authentication features)

18 U.S.C. § 1028A (aggravated identity theft)

18 U.S.C. § 1343 (wire fraud)

18 U.S.C. §§ 1956, 1957 (money laundering)

18 U.S.C. § 1001 (making false statements in any matter within the jurisdiction of the government)

15 U.S.C. § 45 (unfair or deceptive trade practices)

15 U.S.C. § 52 (false advertising)

15 U.S.C. § 6821 (fraudulent access to financial information)

Credit Card Fraud

18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(2)(A) (accessing a computer and obtaining information from a financial institution, card issuer or consumer reporting agency)

18 U.S.C. § 1029 (access device fraud)

15 U.S.C. § 1644 (credit card fraud aggregating at least $1,000)

18 U.S.C. § 1343 (wire fraud)

Password Fraud

18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(6) (trafficking in computer passwords)

18 U.S.C. § 1029 (access device fraud)

18 U.S.C. § 1343 (wire fraud)

Child Pornography, Child Luring, and Related Activities

18 U.S.C. §§ 2251, 2252, 2252A (sexual exploitation of children)

18 U.S.C. § 2423 (transportation of minors or travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct)

18 U.S.C. § 1466A (obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children)

Obscenity

47 U.S.C. § 223(a)(1)(A) (using telecommunications device to make, create, or solicit, and transmit any obscene comment, request, suggestion, proposal, image, or other communication)

18 U.S.C. § 1465 (using interactive computer service for purpose of sale or distribution of obscene material)

Sale of Prescription Drugs and Controlled Substances

15 U.S.C. § 45 (unfair or deceptive trade practices)

15 U.S.C. § 52 (false advertising)

18 U.S.C. § 545 (smuggling goods into the United States)

18 U.S.C. § 1343 (wire fraud)

21 U.S.C. §§ 301 et seq. (Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act)

21 U.S.C. §§ 822, 829, 841, 863, 951-71 (Drug Abuse Prevention and Control)

18 U.S.C. § 2320 (trafficking in counterfeit goods or services)

Sale of Firearms

18 U.S.C. § 922 (unlawful sale of firearms)

Gambling

15 U.S.C. §§ 3001 et seq. (Interstate Horseracing Act)

18 U.S.C. § 1084 (use of wire communication facility to transmit bets or wagering information)

18 U.S.C. § 1301 (importing or transporting lottery tickets)

18 U.S.C. § 1952 (use of facilities in interstate or foreign commerce to aid in racketeering enterprises)

18 U.S.C. § 1953 (interstate transportation of wagering paraphernalia)

18 U.S.C. § 1955 (conducting, financing, managing, supervising, directing, or owning an illegal gambling business)

28 U.S.C. § 3701 et seq. (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act)

Sale of Alcohol

18 U.S.C. §§ 1261 et seq. (transportation of liquor into state prohibiting sale; shipping liquor without required marks and labels on package)

27 U.S.C. §§ 122, 204 (interstate shipping of alcohol)

Securities Fraud

15 U.S.C. §§ 77e, 77j, 77q, 77x, 78i, 78j, 78l, 78o, 78ff (securities fraud)

18 U.S.C. § 1343 (wire fraud)

Piracy and Intellectual Property Theft

17 U.S.C. §§ 1201-1205 (Digital Millennium Copyright Act)

18 U.S.C. § 545 (smuggling goods into the United States)

18 U.S.C. §§ 1831, 1832 (theft of trade secrets)

18 U.S.C. § 2318 (trafficking in counterfeit labels)

17 U.S.C. § 506 and 18 U.S.C. § 2319 (criminal copyright infringement)

18 U.S.C. § 2319A (trafficking in recordings of live musical performances)

18 U.S.C. § 2320 (trafficking in counterfeit goods or services)

47 U.S.C. § 553 (unauthorized reception of cable service)

18 U.S.C. § 1343 (wire fraud)

Trade Secrets/Economic Espionage

18 U.S.C. § 1831 ( theft of trade secrets for benefit of foreign government)

18 U.S.C. § 1832 (theft of trade secrets)

18 U.S.C. § 1905 (disclosure of confidential information)

18 U.S.C. §§ 2314, 2315 (interstate transportation or receipt of stolen property)

Electronic Threats

18 U.S.C. § 875 (transmitting communications containing threats of kidnap or bodily injury) (Hobbs Act)

18 U.S.C. § 1951 (interfering with commerce by robbery, extortion, threats or violence) (Hobbs Act)

47 U.S.C. § 223 (a)(1)(C) (anonymously using telecommunications device to threaten person who receives communication)

Electronic Harassment

47 U.S.C. § 223 (a)(1)(C) (anonymously using telecommunications device to harass person who receives communication)

47 U.S.C. § 223(a)(1)(E) (repeatedly initiates communication with a telecommunication device solely to harass person who receives communication)

Interception of Electronic Communications

18 U.S.C. § 2511 (intercepting electronic communications)

18 U.S.C. § 2701 (accessing stored communications)

18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(2) (accessing a computer and obtaining information)

Cyberstalking

18 U.S.C. § 2261A (using any facility of interstate or foreign commerce to engage in a course of conduct that places person in reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury to person, person's spouse or immediate family) See also Electronic Harassment

Espionage

18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(1) (accessing a computer and obtaining national security information)

18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(2) (accessing a computer and obtaining information from any department or agency of the United States)

18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(3) (accessing a nonpublic United States government computer)

18 U.S.C. § 793 (gathering, transmitting or losing defense information)

18 U.S.C. § 798 (disclosing classified information)

Hate Crimes

Look to civil rights laws and penalty enhancements

Libel/Slander

Look to civil laws

Posting Personal Information on a Website (e.g., phone numbers, addresses)

This is not a violation of law. May also be protected speech under First Amendment.

Invasion of Privacy

See Interception of Electronic Communications

Disclosure of Private Information

18 U.S.C. § 2511(1)(c) (disclosing intercepted communications)

Spam

18 U.S.C. § 1037 (CAN-SPAM Act)

Spoofing Email Address

18 U.S.C. § 1037 (CAN-SPAM Act)

Source: U.S. Department of Justice
 

Computer Crimes - U.S. Code Provisions

U.S. Code > Title 15 > Chapter 100 - Cyber Security Research And Development
 

Computer Crimes - Selected State Laws

ConnecticutConnecticut General Statutes > Title 53 > Chapter 949g - Computer Crimes
FloridaFlorida Statutes > Chapter 815 - Computer-Related Crimes
IdahoIdaho Code Title 18 > Chapter 22 - Computer Crime
IllinoisIllinois Compiled Statutes > 740 ILCS 7 - Anti-Phishing Act
MaineMaine Revised Statutes > Title 17-A > Chapter 18 - Computer Crimes
MichiganMichigan Laws > Chapter 752 > Act 53 of 1979 - Fraudulent Access to Computers, Computer Systems, and Computer Networks
NevadaNevada Revised Statutes > Chapter 603 - Computers
New MexicoNew Mexico Statutes Chapter 30 > Article 45 - Computer Crimes
New YorkNew York Laws - General Business > Article 29-CC - Modem Hijacking Deterrence Act
New YorkNew York Laws > General Business > Article 29-CC - Modem Hijacking Deterrence Act
North CarolinaNorth Carolina General Statutes Chapter 14 > Article 60 - Computer_x001E_Related Crime
Rhode IslandRhode Island General Laws > Chapter 11-52. Computer Crime
Rhode Island General Laws > Chapter 11-52.1. Internet Misrepresentation of Business Affiliation Act
Rhode Island General Laws > Chapter 11-52.2. Software Fraud
Rhode Island General Laws > Chapter 11-52.3. Online Property Offenses
South CarolinaSouth Carolina Code > Title 16 > Chapter 16 - Computer Crime Act
South DakotaSouth Dakota Laws > Title 43 > Chapter 43B - Computer Programs
TexasTexas Civil Practice and Remedies Code > Title 6 > Chapter 143 - Harmful Access by Computer
Texas Penal Code > Title 7 > Chapter 33 - Computer Crimes
VermontVermont Statutes > Title 13 > Chapter 87 - Computer Crimes
West VirginiaWest Virginia Code > Chapter 61 > Article 3C - West Virginia Computer Crime And Abuse Act

 

Questions & Answers: Computer Crimes

We have done all that you suggested but they continue to start new topic when removing one...
April, At this point your only recourse then would be to see an attorney. Sometimes a simple "cease and desist" letter on an attorney's letterhead is enough, and is relatively inex...
does this law include an offense if there is a person posting obscene, vulgar comments and pictures on their own social network page aimed at another individual, with the intent to...
Would this law apply if a soldier (KIA) had his photos and name stolen by an individual pretending to be him on a social networking site? The individual used the deceased soldiers...
I work at a tax preparation firm and I have a co-worker who has went into my personal tax return and viewed it numerous times without any ones permission. is this computer trespass...
Mike, North Carolina General Statutes 14-458 creates the crime of computer trespass but applies only where the intent is to do one of the things listed in paragraphs (1) through (6...
 
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