What to know about hacking laws

Hacking is among the more recognizable computer crimes that a person could commit. South Carolina residents who have been victims of data breaches or similar events have likely had their personal information stolen or otherwise accessed by a hacker. It is important to note that hacking is only a crime if a person doesn't have permission to access a network. In some cases, companies or other entities will invite outside parties to attempt to access their servers.

This is typically referred to as ethical hacking, and the goal of ethical hacking is to become aware of security flaws before someone can exploit them for nefarious purposes. The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is the main piece of legislation used to prosecute those who hack into computers or similar devices. A person may be charged with hacking if he or she gains unauthorized access to tablets or smartphones.

Other legislation aimed to curb hacking include the Stored Communications Act and the Defend Trade Secrets Act. Individuals who are convicted of obtaining sensitive information or using it to cause damage to another person or business may spend several years in prison. A repeat offender could spend up to 20 years in prison depending on what he or she actually did. Those convicted of hacking may also have items used to commit their crimes taken away from them.

Individuals who are charged with committing internet crimes may face a variety of negative consequences if they are convicted. For instance, they may have a harder time finding employment, finding housing or retaining custody of their children after being released from prison. This may be especially true for those who are facing child pornography charges or who otherwise victimized anyone legally considered to be a minor.

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