Cybercrimes continue to be among the fastest growing areas of federal criminal enforcement—and to pose one of the most significant threats to business and personal security. One need look no further than the seemingly daily news releases of the latest large-scale data breach to recognize that no one is immune to cybercrime. Estimates indicate that the global cost of cybercrime will top $2 trillion by 2019. In fact, cybercrime has been described as “the greatest threat to every profession, every industry, every company in the world.”
All 50 states have computer crime statutes. At the federal level, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) is the primary statute used to prosecute computer crimes. There are, however, a number of other criminal statutes that come into play. While not exhaustive, a list of some of the most important federal laws dealing with computer crimes includes:
- 18 U.S.C. § 1029. Fraud and Related Activity in Connection with Access Devices
- 18 U.S.C. § 1030. Fraud and Related Activity in Connection with Computers
- 18 U.S.C. § 1362. Communication Lines, Stations, or Systems
- 18 U.S.C. § 2510 et seq. Wire and Electronic Communications Interception and Interception of Oral Communications
- 18 U.S.C. § 2701 et seq. Stored Wire and Electronic Communications and Transactional Records Access
- 18 U.S.C. § 3121 et seq. Recording of Dialing, Routing, Addressing, and Signaling Information
There are, of course, additional federal statutes dealing with everything from unfair and deceptive online acts or practices, internet gambling, and online securities fraud, to software piracy and intellectual property theft. Depending on the cybercrime violations at issue, a number of federal and state statutes could be implicated.
Businesses of all sizes should seek legal counsel regarding potential computer-related intrusions and claims. And those standing accused of computer-related violations should, of course, seek competent counsel. For background on one of my recent cases involving charges of computer intrusion, click here.