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What is a Cyber Crime?

26. What is a “Cyber Crime”?

Federal law provides that a person who intentionally accesses a computer without authorization or exceeds authorized access to obtain classified, restricted, or protected data, or attempts to do so, is subject to criminal prosecution.

•    Example: Types of cybercriminal conduct include: hacking, cyber terrorism, destruction of data, unlawful appropriation of data or services.

•    Discussion: Do you think it should be a crime for individuals like Edward Snowden to disclose governmental data? Do you think it should be a crime to access the back-end database on someone’s private website? At the opposite end of the spectrum, if someone walks away from a public computer and fails to log out of her email account, do you think it should be criminal to read that person’s emails? What if you were to send an email (even as a joke) from that person’s email account?

•    Practice Question: Clarence has his own business website that he hosts on a personal server. He manages the site personally with WordPress. Alice is aware of Clarence’s website setup and wants to play a joke on him. She guesses his password and logs into his website server. She then changes the title to read, “Alice is Amazing”. Clarence is outraged by Alice’s joke. Has Alice committed a crime?

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