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Hacking: Varied penalties are hard to predict

On Behalf of | Dec 4, 2018 | Federal Crimes |

Hacking into a computer may be a federal crime, depending on how it’s done and why. Hacking is often seen as a malicious action, but the reality is that it can be beneficial, too. A good hacker can use their talents to show companies where their security systems are malfunctioning or weak, for example.

Hacking doesn’t require a lot of know-how. In reality, even logging into another person’s accounts online is considered to be hacking. Keep in mind that any digital device has the potential to be hacked, whether that’s good or bad.

Did you know that it’s legal to hack your own devices? You’re able to do this to practice hacking skills and to modify your devices. You can also do so to modify code and distribute that code for the benefit of others who want to hack their own devices.

The limits in hacking begin when you impact others. If you decide to hack into another person’s device, then you’re breaking federal law. Federal laws against hacking make the penalties extremely harsh, even though the actions taken may not be significant. Federal law often penalizes hacking convictions with imprisonment. Computer fraud charges, which can include hacking, may come with penalties of up to 10 years in prison.

State laws for hacking may vary, but they also generally have hefty penalties as well. Hacking penalties range from six years to 334 years, depending on the type of crime that is committed. For any crime like this that you’re accused of, the penalties are so varied that a good defense is a necessity.


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