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So you want to be a computer criminal?

OVERVIEW OF US FEDERAL LAWS

In general, a computer crime breaks federal laws when it falls into one of these categories:

· It involves the theft or compromise of national defense, foreign relations, atomic energy, or other restricted information. 
· It involves a computer owned by a U.S. government department or agency. 
· It involves a bank or most other types of financial institutions. 
· It involves interstate or foreign communications. 
· it involves people or computers in other states or countries.

Of these offenses, the FBI ordinarily has jurisdiction over cases involving national security, terrorism, banking, and organized crime.  The U.S. Secret Service has jurisdiction whenever the Treasury Department is victimized or whenever computers are attacked that are not under FBI or U.S. Secret Service jurisdiction (e.g., in cases of password or access code theft).  In certain federal cases, the customs Department, the Commerce Department, or a military organization, such as the Air Force Office of Investigations, may have jurisdiction.

In the United States, a number of federal laws protect against attacks on computers, misuse of passwords, electronic invasions of privacy, and other transgressions.  The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 is the main piece of legislation that governs most  common computer crimes, although many other laws may be used to prosecute different types of computer crime. The act amended Title 18 United States Code §1030. It also complemented the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986, which outlawed the unauthorized interception of digital communications and had just recently been passed. The Computer Abuse Amendments Act of 1994 expanded the 1986 Act to address the transmission of viruses and other harmful code.

In addition to federal laws, most of the states have adopted their own computer crime laws.  A number of countries outside the United States have also passed legislation defining and prohibiting computer crime.

THE BIG NO NO’S -- THE TWO MOST IMPORTANT FEDERAL CRIME LAWS

As mentioned above, the two most important US federal computer crime laws are 18 USC: Chapter 47, Sections 1029 and 1030. 

SECTION 1029

Section 1029 prohibits fraud and related activity that is made possible by counterfeit access devices such as PINs, credit cards, account numbers, and various types of electronic identifiers.  The nine areas of criminal activity covered by Section 1029 are listed below.  All *require* that the offense involved interstate or foreign commerce.

More on computer crime law--->>

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