The birth of the internet has transformed the world as we know it. It has clearly grown to astronomic proportions since it became a household name in the mid 1990’s. If you were born before 1980, you have watched the world change from using rotary telephones to iPhones. These days nearly everything can be controlled by 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 complete college course – without having to step foot on campus. The possibilities of the internet are endless – and technology is changing more rapidly than we can learn to understand it.
Today, teens and individuals in their twenties are grasping and exploiting computer technology like never before. Children are already known for their marked ability to learn and assimilate information at a very young age – absorbing and utilizing the internet and computer systems are no different than learning how to build a tree fort. For some families, their 13-year-old can build an entire computer system as his father built a model car the generation before.
With the advent of the internet, came an entirely new way to commit crimes. The terms internet crime, cybercrime and computer crime are used interchangeably. Simply put, internet crime or cybercrime is a form of crime where the internet or computers are used as a medium to commit crime.
Internet crimes are vast and expansive and can include anything from downloading illegal music files to stealing someone’s identity. Cybercrime can also include stealing millions of dollars from online bank accounts to distribution child pornography. One of the most common forms of internet crimes involves identity theft which is commonly done through phishing and pharming. These methods set up fake websites (that appear legitimate) to lure unsuspecting victims. People are asked to give out 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 targeting the consumer; cybercrimes 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 U.S. Cyber Command, which is headed by the director of the National Security Agency (NSA), to defend American 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 had difficulty keeping up, entire task forces have been developed to crack down on internet and cybercrimes. 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 where they can obtain, secure, search and process any electronic data for use as evidence in a legal investigation. Electronic discovery can involve just a single computer or it can incorporate an entire computer network.
When you are facing allegations for internet or cybercrimes, it is essential that you seek the advice of a highly skilled attorney who you can trust. When your future is at stake – you need somebody who is familiar with both computer technology and the criminal justice system. You are urged to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can help you learn more about what steps you can take to protect your legal rights and your future.