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Articles Posted in Cybercrime

After the Hack: A Data Breach Post Game Show

As chair of the Cyber Crime committee at iTechlaw, Meg Strickler gives her insight on data breaches from various perspectives on an iTechlaw webinar this week.  She and the other panelists discuss:

  1. The criminal charge of BEC (Business email compromise) fraud

In late 2018, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations opened a new cyber center, training a new unit of investigators to take on cases of alleged cybercrime. The move was an attempt to stem the tide of theft, fraud and other offenses committed electronically. 

According to a special agent in charge of the new investigation unit, cybercrime costs the state of Georgia at least $38 million per year. However, that estimate could be severely low. 

Misleading numbers 

Right now, in Georgia and throughout the United States, investigators are watching people and keeping track of their activities on the internet. There is a great deal of information out there, however, and these investigators do not always get everything right.

Additionally, law enforcement officers sometimes overstep their bounds. At Conaway and Strickler, P.C., we make it our mission to ensure that our clients’ rights are protected. One of the ways we do this is by performing our own investigations.

There is an old saying it goes something along the lines of “what is good for one is good for the other.” We make a point of employing equal or superior techniques to state and federal agencies during our own examinations of the facts. We see this as the minimum requirement for a successful case. 

Taking a selfie is a common and popular phenomenon for people in Georgia and throughout the country. While many selfies are fun, they can be illegal if they contain sexual images and/or nudity of someone who is underage. If obtained in the wrong hands, a well-intentioned selfie can be the subject of a child pornography charge.

FindLaw discusses how teenagers, especially, participate in producing, possessing and distributing child pornography without even realizing it. Both teenage girls and boys take selfies of a sexual nature and send it to their boyfriend/girlfriend. This, in and of itself, in many states constitutes child pornography. If the receiver of the picture then forwards it on to others, this can become an even bigger issue. Once a sexually explicit picture passes state or international borders, it becomes a federal offense. Every person who is in possession of the selfie can potentially face charges for child pornography. 

Some may argue that purposely taking a naked photo of oneself and sending it to someone else is anyone’s right and it falls under the First Amendment. However, the United States Department of Justice reports that there is not protection regarding child pornography images and that they are illegal. In contrast to what some may believe, child pornography pictures do not have to depict a minor participating in sexual activity or acting against his or her will.

A lot has changed since the internet was first created and the profound innovation of such an incredible technology took the world by storm. In today’s world, an ever-growing technological challenge is the growing danger of cybercrime. For many industries in Georgia, protecting their intellectual property is not simply a matter of restricting access to its accessibility, but carefully crafting strategic methods for keeping unwanted viruses and criminals from exposing confidential information. 

Some interesting research that examined what the future of cybersecurity is going to look like, uncovered some interesting facts that may help people to better understand the risks they are facing. One development that businesses may notice is the incorporation of highly trained, often-retired military members who have experience in working with cybersecurity, being hired to take leading roles in providing security in the virtual world. They may also notice an increase in roles such as that of a security data scientist who will analyze data and its utilization in discovering ways to protect it without constricting its use. 

In an ever-growing business world, applications as a resource for optimizing transactions between consumers and companies, as well as between business-to-business, will continue to provide assistance in revolutionizing how business is done. However, thoroughly implemented security measures will be critical so long as applications are in use. Another development will be the way that social contracts are leveraged. While they will still be widely used, they may begin to include cybersecurity agreements as a way to solidify promises between data systems and humans. 

When some people envision a cybercrime, they may picture someone huddled over a computer. However, people may also be accused of an online offense as a result of activities that were carried out on a smartphone. For example, someone may be charged with sharing or possessing unlawful material with their phone or harassing another person through an app that they accessed on their smartphone. When it comes to cybercrime charges, the consequences can be just as serious if the offense was carried out using a smartphone, so it is crucial to realize that unlawful activity on a smartphone can be just as serious.

Unfortunately, some people may not realize that certain behaviors on their phone constitute an illegal offense. Moreover, someone may find themselves in this position even though they were not aware of any wrongdoing. For example, someone may let their friend borrow their phone, or another person may use their phone to carry out an illegal act without their knowledge. After all, it can be difficult to keep track of a phone at all times, and many people bring their phones with them to restaurants, bars and other settings.

Whether you have been accused of an online offense involving your phone or a personal computer, it is crucial to prepare for your case and realize how much may be at stake. These charges could disrupt your future in many different ways and completely shatter your reputation. We cover all sorts of issues related to cybercrime charges across our website.

Cases that involve unlawful pornography can be tough for a plethora of reasons. First, these cases carry a harsh stigma, and those who are accused of wrongdoing may feel too ashamed to stand up for themselves (even when details have been exaggerated or they are falsely accused of unlawful behavior). Moreover, some people may not be aware that certain types of behavior are against the law, especially since laws involving pornography have changed in recent years. In Georgia, for example, it is against the law for people to share nude images of their ex without their consent (this is known as revenge porn).

Revenge porn charges can lead to a number of harsh consequences. Those charged with breaking this law may face financial penalties and even time behind bars. For example, someone who is accused of sharing revenge porn again after they have been charged with this offense in the past may be sentenced to prison. Aside from the legal repercussions of revenge porn charges, one’s reputation may be completely destroyed. This could cause problems for them in regard to their career, and it may also cause personal relationships to fall apart.

If you have been accused of illegally sharing revenge porn, it is important to have a solid understanding of your legal options and figure out how to move forward. You should be aware of the potentially serious consequences you could face and try to identify the best way to handle this situation. Our cybercrime page has more related to revenge porn charges.

Online crime charges take many forms, but harassment is an especially tricky issue to deal with in many instances. People may be charged with harassment for a number of reasons, whether they were unaware that their behavior was against the law or they are even falsely accused of online harassment. For example, someone may break up with a spouse or partner and their ex may try to shatter their reputation and bring legal consequences by falsely accusing them of harassing them over the internet. We know how challenging these cases can be and it is pivotal to protect your interests.

If you have been accused of online harassment, it is pivotal to immediately go over your legal options, the ins and outs of the alleged incident(s) and the best course of action. Your future may be at stake, whether you run the risk of losing your job as a result of these allegations or you face serious penalties. If you are the parent of a teen who has been accused of cyber harassment, for example, it is equally important to protect their future by carefully examining the situation and exploring the legal options that may be on the table. Many teens have been falsely accused of harassment by a former friend or an enemy at school.

The consequences of these charges are not to be taken lightly and the outcome of an online harassment case could have a significant impact on your future. We cover other issues concerning this area of law on our blog.

People in Atlanta tend to view cybercrime is hacking attacks launched by sophisticated “tech-heads” to either steal information or interfere with an organization’s online activities. Yet the actual definition of cybercrime is criminal activities out with computers or via the Internet. Applying this definition could make cause cybercrime to hit closer to people’s homes in the form of cyberbullying. Bullying itself is an age-old issue, yet cyberbullying is a relatively new problem. While the perceived impersonal nature of the Internet may cause some to believe that their online actions are viewed differently than by those they engage in person, the law often does not differentiate. 

Cyberbullying is a perfect example of this. While there certainly instances of adults bullying other adults online, cyberbullying is a problem typically associated with children and teens. Indeed, information compiled by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows that 15 percent of high school students report being bullied via electronic media. Teens and tweens might mistakenly believe that whatever they post on social media platforms, send through emails or communicate through instant or text messages is always viewed as being perfectly innocent given that disconnectedness of the medium of the Internet empowers them to say things that they do not actually mean. 

Yet from the perspective of the state of Georgia, cyberbullying is akin to stalking. Section 16.5.90 of the state’s Crimes and Offenses Code classifies stalking as “follows, places under surveillance, or contacts another person at or about a place or places without the consent of the other person for the purpose of harassing and intimidating the other person.” Recent years have seen the state include communications via computer to qualify as “contact” under this statute. Youths who face cyberbullying charges must prove a lack of harassing intent in their online communications. 

Internet crime is a relatively new frontier in criminal justice. The topics are related to previous legal matters, but the tools of communication are diverse and novel. Additionally, the way people interact with web-based communications is always changing. Here is a brief look at the current status of cybercrime defense in this context.

As stated on its official site, the FBI sees national and international cybersecurity investigations as falling within its jurisdiction. This wide focus, combined with the various federal laws governing interstate crime, often means that prosecutors may attempt to direct cybercrime cases to federal courts.

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