Hacking has the potential to be a felony in the United States, which is why anyone who is accused of it needs to start building a defense immediately. Hacking is not always illegal, but when it’s used without permission, it may violate the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA.)
The CFAA protects computer programs, network data, data transmission and computers against unauthorized access, access with ill intent and illicit escalated access. The consequences for violating the act could include misdemeanor charges or felony charges, depending on the network or computer that was hacked into and the impact that the unauthorized hacking had on the owner of the property.
When isn’t hacking illegal?
If you do want to try out your personal hacking skills, it’s best to do it with permission. For example, you could ask a local school system if you can attempt to hack into their system to find problems with their security. Similarly, you could ask a friend to use their computer instead of using a program to hack their password before getting into their computer to copy files.
Hacking is actually positive in many respects. It can help the government, businesses or individuals see where they have problems with their security programs or protocols. That’s why hacking competitions take place today, allowing teams of expert hackers to try to break into systems. The key here is that those competitions are legal since the teams have permission to attempt to hack the systems.
If you’re accused of hacking illegally, you should know that you could face significant penalties. Your attorney will work with you to defend your rights.