Why You Shouldn’t Pull Off Cybercrime: Types of Offenses and Punishments
Updated on July 13, 2021: From now on, traffic filtering, malware protection, and suspicious DNS activity blocking are available as a part of the separate DNS Firewall app.
We’re getting quite used to hearing about cybercrimes these days. Malefactors are stealing personal and corporate data, breaching government information systems and, as some specialists imply, are even able to affect the results of presidential elections. So, does this mean that common netizens are completely defenseless against these rascals? Not really!
Luckily, in addition to what one can do personally for their own online protection, both commercial and governmental authorities are engaged with this task. An example of the former – VPN Unlimited with its superior security and privacy features. However, this is the topic well enough covered on our blog. Today, we’d like to discuss the latter – what kind of cybercrime protection can a law-abiding citizen expect from the legal system. We will mainly focus on the US law, as some of other countries don’t even legally define what a cybercrime is. Without further ado, let’s get it started.
Cybercrime and damage
First of all, we need to figure out existing types of cybercrimes and how dangerous they really are. The types are as follows:
- Computer fraud.
This is what most people think of immediately when they hear about cybercrime. It includes breaking into someone’s computer and stealing or deleting information from it, alternating the computer code, and misusing or changing its software. Worth notice is that this type includes all sorts of financial scams which became so common that many of such cases go unreported.
- Identity theft.
Stealing personal information without getting into a victim’s computer is another big headache a lot of people. These can vary wildly: phishing through emails or other communications, dumpster diving, skimming debit and credit cards, and other semi-cyber crimes.
- Harassment and stalking.
Not as noticeable on a large scale, these can sometimes lead to horrible personal tragedies. Abusing the anonymity of online conversations, a person or even a group of people may choose someone a target for their harassment. The reasons usually vary – from the target’s physical appearance to their views. Also in this list are stalking and cyberbullying.
- Drug trafficking.
Last but definitely not the least, drug trafficking has also got a large boost due to the internet anonymity. Drug sellers and buyers don’t have to meet dangerously on city streets under a high risk when they have Darknet and anonymous profiles.
As you can see, cybercrime has a huge and tiered structure. Fortunately, it applies a lot of technical requirements to malefactors. This imposes certain constraints to the development of organized cybercrime. Which makes it easier for individuals to protect against cyber attacks, and for government – to prevent them.
The crime may be cyber, but the punishment is real
The penalties for cybercrimes become increasingly severe, which is great. With that, hopefully, some of the potential hackers won’t think it’s a cool but innocent game and won’t turn to crime. The penalties vary from fines to prison sentences, here are some examples:
- Illegally accessing computers – jail sentence from 6 months to 5 years.
- Intercepting communications – possible jail sentence for 1-5 years. However, DDoS attacks, for instance, can only be punished if there were some breakdowns in network. No punishment for an attempted crime.
- Hacking computer and changing source code – fine and/or jail sentence for 1-10 years, depending on the damage caused. Second offense can get up to 20 years in prison.
- Hacking government information system – up to 10 years and high fines.
As you can see, cybercriminals and legal authorities are in a constant struggle. Government is constantly working to protect us against hackers and other malefactors. However, as always, God helps those who help themselves. We recommend to keep your powder dry, so to say, and take necessary precautions. We have already mentioned VPN Unlimited, and it’s exactly the tool for this job. It protects your privacy and encrypts your personal data to ensure that even if some reckless culprit decides to hack you, they won’t be able to recover anything valuable.
Download VPN Unlimited and enjoy ultimate security against cybercrimes!