The birth of the Internet has transformed the world as we know it. It’s clearly grown to astronomical proportions since it became a household name in the mid-1990s. If you were born before 1980, you’ve seen the world change from using rotary phones to iPhones. These days, almost everything can be controlled at the touch of a button.
Bills can be paid online, movie tickets can be purchased online, you can talk to your loved ones online, and you can take a full college course, without ever setting foot on campus. The possibilities of the Internet are endless, and technology is changing faster than we can learn to understand.
Today’s teens and twenties are seizing and exploiting computer technology like never before. Children are already known for their remarkable ability to learn and assimilate information at a very young age: absorbing and using the Internet and computer systems is no different from learning to build a tree fort. For some families, their 13-year-old son can build a complete computer system like his father built a model car the previous generation.
With the advent of the Internet, a completely new way of committing crimes emerged. The terms Internet crime, cyber crime, and computer crime are used interchangeably. In a nutshell, internet crime or cyber crime is a form of crime in which the internet or computers are used as a means to commit crimes.
Internet crimes are broad and expansive and can include anything from downloading illegal music files to stealing someone’s identity. Cybercrime can also include the theft of millions of dollars from online bank accounts to distribute child pornography. One of the most common forms of Internet crime involves identity theft, which is commonly done through phishing and pharming. These methods set up fake websites (which appear legitimate) to lure unsuspecting victims. People are asked to provide personal information such as name, address, phone numbers and bank accounts. Criminals then take this information and “steal” the person’s identity.
Internet crimes are not limited to the consumer; Cyber crimes have gone so far as to take on global proportions. Cybercrimes can also encompass criminal activities such as espionage, financial theft, and sabotage. In May 2010, the Pentagon established the new US Cyber Command, which is headed by the director of the National Security Agency (NSA), to defend US military networks. It also serves to attack the computer systems of other countries.
Due to the fact that criminal activities have spread at a rate that law enforcement has struggled to keep up, entire task forces have been developed to crack down on Internet and cybercrime. There is a method called electronic discovery, or e-discovery, which is a type of cyber forensics. Electronic discovery is a process employed by law enforcement in which they can obtain, protect, search, and process any electronic data for use as evidence in a legal investigation. Electronic discovery may involve a single computer or it may incorporate an entire computer network.
When facing cyber or Internet crime charges, it is essential that you seek the advice of a highly qualified attorney you can trust. When your future is on the line, you need someone who is familiar with both computer technology and the criminal justice system. We urge you to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you learn more about the steps you can take to protect your legal rights and your future.