For many, cybercrime, specifically getting hacked, seems too far-fetched to happen to them not knowing that the world is too advanced that you can be easily hacked especially if your network has flimsy security. Similar to what you see in popular media, cybercrime consists primarily of hacking, which is the act of intruding to a private computer or network with the goal to take information, interrupt processes, and ultimately harm other people.
Although hacking is a federal crime, not all computers are covered by hacking laws. Usually, it is when you hack government-owned networks that you are committing a crime and subjectable to hacking criminal charges. Nevada has been hit by many hacking attempts over the years, usually political. There are three reported hackings in the state in 2017 and just this August, hackers came together for annual hacking conventions like the Black Hat and Defcon where hackers actually showed their power by controlling planes, hospitals, casinos, and more throughout the city.
It is the time to be alarmed about hacking and cybercrime as a whole as their prevalence might affect you badly in the future. Read below to learn more.
What constitutes as hacking?
With extensive knowledge and the right equipment, any person can hack. Hacking is primarily entering a system uninvited with the purpose of taking, copying, hiding, altering, and transferring files or information. You are on your way to being incriminated if the computer or the network that you are hacking is privately-owned, without your affiliation, or something that you do not have any permission to touch at all. Hacking is the precursor of cybercrimes such as theft, fraud, funds transfer, and general exploitation of private information.
You might be wondering: are there penalties for playfully hacking your friend’s email?
Well, not every hacking act is with malicious intent—there are hackers who hack to test the security of the system or find and eradicate unwanted bugs in the network. This is called ethical hacking and it can be a profession that companies can hire to identify their vulnerabilities. However, to be an ethical hacker, you need to follow certain regulations such as taking certification from The International Council of E-commerce Consultants (ICEC).
What are some other computer crimes?
Aside from what we have already listed above, computer crimes can also be intentionally shutting servers down to interrupt operations, electronic money laundering, and spam. Unfortunately, there are a lot of crimes you can do with your computer and not everything is wide-scale. Depending on your situation, you are already doing crime if you are intentionally putting a virus on a computer. This might seem minor compared to the other crimes but because it affects important systems or costs damages, you can be arrested.
What are the penalties for cybercrime in Nevada?
Usually, a cybercrime is a misdemeanor but this is only for mild cases. According to Interpol, cybercrimes are only being done by individuals or small groups before but due to its provided handiness and anonymity, criminal organizations have flocked to extract its benefits. Below are penalties for cybercrime or other hacking criminal charges.
For a cybercrime with misdemeanor, a defendant can be charged with:
- 1 year prison time
- Fines of up to $1,000
When the cybercrime becomes too extensive (like when there is an evident intent to scheme) and when there are more than $500 in damages, as well as when government operations have been disrupted, you can be charged as a Category C felony in the state. This usually includes penalties of:
- 1 to 5 years in prison
- Fines of at least $100,000
- Reinstitution to the victims of cybercrime
Aside from the laws to be brought down by the state of Nevada, there also is the federal law waiting for you. Federal law is the body of law established by a country. For this matter, the United States of America will have to add charges to the existing ones given by the state. If you use government computers or if your cybercrime has the interest of the government then you will most likely be charged with:
- 1 to 20 years in prison
- Reinstitution to the government or the victims
Talk with a criminal defense attorney to learn more about the penalties that can await you with cybercrime.
What defenses can you use against cybercrime?
Cybercrime is a tricky case to be involved in. Fortunately, a person cannot be charged without evidence, and cybercrime evidences can be rare or fleeting since most of them are digital or online. Of course, the investigating force also uses real time movements such as your location, surveillance camera captures, and witnesses’ accounts to place you in the crime so make sure you also gather your own evidence to prove your innocence.
If you are falsely accused of cybercrime or been wrongly given hacking criminal charges in Nevada, you have a great chance to defend yourself. You can utilize defenses such as:
- You are authorized to do the logging or hacking to the system (make sure you provide proof for this matter)
- There are witnesses who can place you out of the time of the crime or there are timestamps or login evidence on computer databases to show that you did not hack or login
- You are under duress or coercion (there are hackers who are forced to hack out of their will because their lives are threatened)
- Hacking was done by mistake and you have no sufficient knowledge to carry out the deed
- You were mistaken for someone else
- There are no evidences of fraud or violations that were being pressed unto you
Hackers might not directly attack you but when they target government networks, your personal data will also be in trouble. And due to the struggle to identify perpetrators, a link to you might lead to unlawful arrest. It is recommended that you familiarize yourself with the Nevada Revised Statutes or NRS on cybercrime matters.