Arising from the digital age, Cybercrime is a modern offence. As our lives become more reliant on technology, cybercrimes are on the rise. The line between legitimate and illegimate use of computers can be blurry, so you may find yourself needing cybercrime lawyers.
What is cybercrime?
Under Australian law, the term ‘cybercrime’ is generally used to describe crimes relating to computers and other information technology. Generally, the accused must be doing the act for the purpose of harm for it to constitute a cybercrime.
Sometimes a cybercriminal is a digital expert and is utilising their skills to commit crime. For example, a hacker. However, sometimes the device is just a tool in their crime, like some creating or sharing child pornography.
A cybercrime can either target an:
- Or even a government.
Cybercrime can also be defined as:
“The illegal usage of any communication device to commit or facilitate in committing any illegal act.”
Cybercrimes range from purposely spreading dangerous viruses, to cyberstalking, to digital fraud.
Examples of cybercrimes include:
- Computer hacking,
- Cyber stalkers,
- Cyber terrorists,
- Digital drug trafficking,
- Digital fraud,
- Identity theft,
- Electronic Money Laundering,
- Grooming minors online,
- Server attacks,
- Sharing child pornography online,
Our cybercrime lawyers can help with all these definitions.
What is Phishing?
Phishing is a form of social engineering attack. Typically, it targets users by sending fake messages or emails pretending to be someone else. Their goal is normally to retrieve sensitive information. For example, a common phishing attack is a cybercriminal pretending to be a bank and tricking vulnerable people into giving them their bank account details. Another is an attacker trying to get another to download harmful software that could take over their system, giving them access to personal information stored on their devices.
What is Hacking?
Hacking is shutting down or misusing computer networks. However, not every hacker is a criminal. Some hackers work for government agencies to help uncover vulnerabilities or find criminal hackers. We call this person a ‘white-hat hacker.’
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is when a criminal uses another’s personal data to commit fraud or another crime. For example, using someone’s credit card numbers or personal pictures without their permission to commit fraud or a crime.
Investigating a cybercrime
Investigating a cybercrime can be complicated. In the process of the investigation, police will look at different devices that could have been used to commit the crime. A team of highly skilled computer experts will assist the police with cybercrime cases.
They use specialized tools and software to analyse digital evidence. For example, they often use tools that can track internet activity or identify suspects.
Reasons People Commit Cybercrime
There are many reasons as to why someone would commit a cybercrime.
Financial reward: Cybercriminals can sell illegal content or goods online for a profit.
Additionally, others have hacked systems to steal money and other rewards. Similarly, criminals have set up digital scams to commit fraud and take people’s money.
Revenge: Cyberstalking and the sharing of revenge porn are typical for criminals seeking revenge.
Terrorist motivations: Terrorists also sometimes commit cybercrime to fund their operations. Doing illegal activities online helps them remain anonymous.
Types of cybercrimes
There are also different types of cybercrimes, including;
Individual: This classification of cybercrime targets individuals. These crimes include cyberstalking and phishing.
Property: This type goes after credit cards and sometimes intellectual property.
Organisation: Occurs when cybercriminals go after an organisation or government body. Usually, they aim to place their malware on servers.
Society: This is when terrorists target a population. Cyberterrorism is usually a highly planned attack. It could be politically or religiously motivated. Attackers might do this by disrupting critical digital infrastructure to incite fear.
What is the dark web?
The Dark Web is a hidden place on the internet where cybercrimes takes place. It can only be accessed via a special browser. There are some illegal activities taking place on the Dark Web. However, mostly, it is where cybercriminals organise attacks and sell personal, valuable information.
You can also find cybercriminals selling drugs, trafficking people, and organizing terrorist groups.
Cybercrime in Australia
Cybercrime is very threatening for Australians. As a wealthy, technologically advanced country, Australia is a target for these types of crimes.
The worrying thing is that because of technological advancements, cybercriminals can target thousands of Australians in one go. Moreover, these attacks can be done by people from anywhere in the world.
As such, penalties for cybercrime are serious. In New South Wales, cybercrime generally involves any abnormal or potentially harmful digital activity.
The Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) lists the penalties for cybercrimes. If someone is found guilty of a cyber crime, that offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check. The seriousness of the cybercrime usually depends on the people affected or the worth of the asset destroyed.
Possession of data
The Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) defines it as a crime when a person takes charge, control, or possession of data with the intention to commit a serious crime. Alternatively, it also lists it as a crime to possess that data to facilitate an offence.
This type of crime carries a maximum punishment of 3 years imprisonment.
Similarly, it is also an offence to supply, produce, deal with, or facilitate, data to commit a severe cybercrime.
Modifying data to change the information in a computer or other technology is also an offence. This offence can result in a punishment of up to 10 years imprisonment.
Furthermore, it is also an offence for someone to cause any form of digital attack on an electronic device or communication. For this type of offence, the punishment can also be a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
Forgery is another type of digital crime.
It occurs when someone intentionally uses a false document, which another person has to interact with as if it were original. Forgery can warrant a 10-year imprisonment sentence.
An act of forgery occurs when the following takes place:
- The guilty party obtained the property of another and,
- They obtained a financial benefit or
- Caused another to experience a loss or,
- They received some other public, unwarranted benefit.
In addition, possessing the digital equipment to create a false document is also a serious cybercrime offence.
Why you need specialised cybercrime lawyers
Cybercrimes are usually very complex. Therefore, you need experienced cybercrime lawyers. In addition, we can help you build a strong defence against these allegations.
Likewise, we are skilled in analysing financial statements, transactions, and reports for our clients. Furthermore, our firm helps individuals, businesses, and organisations understand their rights. In addition, we are there to hold your hand through the complex legal system.
Are you facing a cybercrime charge?
Our experienced cybercrime lawyers have years of experience in this area of law. Get in touch with us today. Call O’Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors on (02) 9261 4281 to set up a free appointment.
1. Full-service criminal defence firm
O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors is a full-service criminal defence law firm. Consequently, we provide legal advice on both criminal and civil law. After the completion of your criminal case, we can continue to represent you in your civil matter (if one exists).
2. Competitive costs
Your first consultation with one of our criminal lawyers is free. Here, we can discuss what your options are. Thus, if you choose to proceed with our services, we will provide you with a cost agreement. O’Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors provides cost-effective and professional legal advice.
In some instances, we offer reduced fees or pro bono services at the discretion of our Principal. Finally, we can also assist you in applying for Legal Aid if you are eligible.
Speak to us if you have concerns regarding your ability to pay your legal fees.
3. Experienced team of cybercrime lawyers
Specifically, our criminal lawyers have handled cases in courts across NSW at Local Courts, District Courts and the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal. Above all, we have a wealth of experience with bail applications, trials, sentencing hearings, and appeals.
4. Our trauma-informed approach to legal practice
O’Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors utilises a trauma-informed lawyering approach. Furthermore, we understand that you have dealt with traumatic events. In conclusion, we know that engaging with authorities and courts is a stressful experience. Therefore, we are sensitive to your mental and emotional needs. For further reading go to our trauma-informed lawyering.
To find out more about cyber crime, the Australian Signals Directorate maintains a web site, cyber.com.au