The birth of the Internet changed the world as we know it. It has clearly grown to astronomical proportions since it became widely known in the mid-1990s. If you were born before 1980, you’ve watched the world change from rotary phones to iPhones. Nowadays, almost everything can be controlled with the touch of a button.
Bills can be paid online, movie tickets can be purchased online, you can chat with loved ones online and you can take a full university course – without having to go to campus. The possibilities of the internet are endless – and technology is changing faster than we can understand it.
Today, teens and twenties grasp and use computer technology like never before. Children are known at a very young age for their pronounced ability to learn and assimilate information – learning and using the Internet and computer systems is no different from learning to build a fort on a tree. For some families, their 13-year-old can build an entire computer system just like his father built the car of the previous generation.
With the advent of the Internet, a whole new way of committing crimes has emerged. The terms internet crime, cyber crime and computer crime are used interchangeably. Simply put, Internet crime or cyber crime is a form of crime in which the Internet or computers are used as a medium to commit a crime.
Online crime is huge and pervasive, and can range from downloading illegal music files to stealing someone’s identity. Cybercrime can also involve the theft of millions of dollars from online bank accounts to distribute child pornography. One of the most common forms of online crime is identity theft, which is often done through phishing and pharming. These methods create fake websites (which appear legitimate) to lure unsuspecting victims. Individuals are asked to provide personal information such as name, address, telephone numbers and bank accounts. The criminals then take this information and “steal” the person’s identity.
Online crime is not limited to attacking the consumer; cybercrime has gone so far as to take a global scale. Cybercrime can also include criminal activities such as espionage, financial theft, and sabotage. In May 2010, the Pentagon established a new US cyber command, led by the director of the National Security Agency (NSA), to defend US military networks. It is also used to attack computer systems of other countries.
With criminal activity spreading at a pace that law enforcement could hardly keep up with, entire task forces were set up to crack down on the internet and cybercrime. There is a method called electronic discovery or e-discovery, which is a type of cybercriminal science. Electronic discovery is a law enforcement process by which they can obtain, preserve, retrieve and process any electronic data for use as evidence in a legal investigation. Electronic discovery can cover only one computer or can cover the entire computer network.
When faced with internet or cybercrime allegations, it is important that you seek the advice of a highly qualified lawyer you can trust. When your future is at stake, you need someone who knows both computer technology and the criminal justice system. We encourage you to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you find out what steps you can take to protect your rights and your future.