Computer hacking, the practice of using unauthorized access to a computer system to steal information or money, is a relatively new crime that has gained prominence in the age of the Internet. The hacking of government computer systems has been in the news in recent years as classified information has been leaked and hackers have faced stiff punishments. There are serious consequences of computer hacking.
A conviction for hacking can result in prison time and fines. If you or a loved one is facing a computer hacking charge, it is important to have an experienced Wallin & Klarich attorney who will fight for you.
What Can Happen to Hackers
In November 2013, a federal judge sentenced Jeremy Hammond, a prominent member of the hacking group Anonymous, to 10 years in prison for breaking into the computer servers of a string of corporations, government agencies and law enforcement advocacy groups.1
Hammond allegedly stole emails, credit card numbers and other data from the websites of the CIA and private intelligence firms.2 Hammond pleaded guilty to hacking charges and was given the maximum 10-year prison sentence.3
In August 2013, Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Private First Class Bradley Manning, was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking hundreds of thousands of American diplomatic documents and military records to WikiLeaks, the largest publisher of classified information in the world. It was the largest set of classified documents ever leaked to the public.4
As a member of the United States Army, Manning was tried in military court and convicted on 17 counts, including espionage and theft.5 Manning’s offenses carried a combined maximum sentence of 90 years in prison.6
What is Hacking?
In the United States, hacking government computer systems is a federal crime classified as “fraud and related activity in connection with computers” under United States Code 18 Section 1030.
Under United States Code 18 Section 1030, a person is guilty of computer hacking if he or she:
- Accesses a computer without authorization or exceed authorized access; and
- Obtains information that the United States government determines to be classified for reasons relating to national defense or foreign relations; or
- Willfully communicates or attempts to communicate the information any foreign nation; or
- Willfully retains the information and fails to deliver it to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it.
Federal Consequences of Computer Hacking
Depending on the circumstances of your case, computer hacking can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony under United States Code 18 Section 1030.
A misdemeanor conviction is punishable by up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine. A felony conviction is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Call the Federal Crime Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich
If you or a loved one is facing a federal charge of computer hacking, it is critical that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience successfully defending our clients accused of committing federal crimes. Our attorneys can fight to get you the best possible outcome in your case.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich Southern California criminal defense attorney near you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.
1. [Hacker Receives 10-Year Sentence for ‘Causing Mayhem’, November 15, 2013, http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/11/15/hacker-for-anonymous-sentenced-to-10-years-in-prison/]↩
4. [Judge sentences Bradley Manning to 35 years, August, 21, 2013, http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/judge-to-sentence-bradley-manning-today/2013/08/20/85bee184-09d0-11e3-b87c-476db8ac34cd_story.html]↩