26 Nov 23

Federal Cybercrime and Computer Fraud Lawyers

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Last Updated on: 5th December 2023, 02:11 pm


Federal Cybercrime and Computer Fraud Lawyers: Protecting Clients Against Online Threats

The internet age has brought many benefits, but also new threats in the form of cybercrime. As more of our lives move online, the opportunities for tech-savvy criminals expand. Fortunately, there are federal cybercrime and computer fraud lawyers who can help protect clients from digital dangers.

Defending Against Hacking, Malware, and Harassment Charges

Federal computer crime charges can stem from various online activities:

  • Hacking – Gaining unauthorized access to protected computers, including through phishing, can lead to CFAA charges. Your lawyer may argue you had no intent to damage systems or steal data.
  • Malware Attacks – Distributing viruses, worms, spyware or ransomware brings charges like damaging protected computers. But proving you specifically created or spread malware can be difficult.
  • Denial-of-Service – Flooding sites with traffic to take them offline leads to CFAA and conspiracy charges. Your lawyer can require proof you participated and intended to cause damage.
  • Cyberstalking – Harassing online communications may be defended under First Amendment free speech rights if they did not directly threaten harm.
  • Identity Theft – Stealing and misusing personal information online leads to CFAA charges. But the government must trace the activity to you and not just your IP address.

When Computers Are Incidental to the Crime

In some cases, computers may simply store evidence of traditional crimes like fraud. Your lawyer can argue the computer connection is incidental.

For example, if you are accused of using email to communicate as part of a wire fraud scheme, your lawyer may claim the emails themselves did not defraud anyone. The focus should be on your overall intent, not the use of a computer.

Working with Computer Forensics Experts

To counter the prosecution’s digital evidence, your lawyer may retain computer forensics experts. They can examine malware code to determine authorship, analyze IP address logs to identify other possible suspects, and testify about the unreliability of circumstantial cyber evidence. Their testimony could undermine the government’s forensic claims or even implicate other individuals.

Negotiating with Prosecutors

Once your lawyer has assessed the evidence and possible defenses, they can negotiate with prosecutors for reduced charges or a favorable plea bargain. Dropping some charges in exchange for a guilty plea to others is common.

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Arguments about your minimal role in the offense, no prior record, and other mitigating factors may persuade prosecutors to offer a lighter sentence recommendation. They know convictions are never guaranteed and avoiding trial saves time and resources.

Navigating Complex Sentencing Guidelines

The federal sentencing guidelines for cybercrime and computer fraud are complicated, with enhancements for factors like:

  • High loss amounts caused by the crime
  • Jeopardizing public health or safety
  • Stealing sensitive information like medical records
  • Involving 10 or more victims
  • Using special skills to facilitate the offense
  • Obstructing the investigation

Your attorney will thoroughly analyze the guidelines to minimize your sentencing exposure. They may argue certain enhancements are not warranted or that grounds for a downward departure exist. The final sentence depends on the judge, but your lawyer will advocate for the absolute lowest penalty permitted.