10.0Lee A. Koch
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3 Ways You Can Become a Cyber Criminal Without Meaning To

Ignorance of the law is no defense in any criminal case, and many people do things with their computers, in ignorance, that could get them in big trouble.

Are you someone who could be in danger of being charged for cyber-crimes you never knew you were committing?

Are you a pirate?

Ever downloaded intellectual property you didn’t pay for? Whether it’s a PDF of a book, a movie, a piece of music or an unlicensed piece of software, you’re violating the law.

Granted, most of the time nobody goes after this kind of petty crime. It’s usually more trouble than it’s worth. They usually go after much larger piracy concerns.

But if you get into some other kind of cyber-crime trouble, this is certainly the sort of charge prosecutors can tack on. Prosecutors like to hit people with as many as they can so they can make sure something sticks.

See also: When Can Police Search Your Devices?

How’s that flame war going?

Cyberstalking and cyberharassment are real, serious crimes. And you’d be surprised what actually counts as a violation of the law.

Posting mean, cruel, or bullying comments on someone’s Facebook page. Writing malicious emails, especially if you’ve been told to stop. Using the Internet to spread malicious, untrue rumors.

Tempers run high, things get out of control, and the next thing you know the police are knocking on your door. It can be especially common during a divorce or a nasty break-up. You think you’re arguing with your ex. In reality you’re committing a cybercrime.

It’s more common than you think. 40% of users have experienced some form of harassment online, which means there’s an awful lot of people indulging in it.

And if you sent sexual content, or content that could be construed as threatening, you could be in real hot water.

Do you have illegal items on your computer you don’t even know about?

There have been cases where police found child pornography on an unwitting defendant’s computer thanks to viruses and malware. Is your anti-virus software up-to-date and reputable?

It’s not very common, and usually the arrest only happens when the cops get overzealous instead of performing a through forensic investigation. Most cops know there’s a lot more corroborating evidence than computer files.

But it’s also been known to happen when someone buys a used computer. Don’t keep the receipt? Didn’t wipe the hard drive? Didn’t know what was on it?

You could end up in hot water when some third party discovers what’s there, and on your own you could have a hard time proving the filth didn’t belong to you.

You’re also in danger if you surf porn sites for content that’s technically legal. You don’t know what else is on the page. You don’t know what has slipped into your cache. Some of it could create big trouble.

Accused of a cybercrime?

Any cyber crime you’re charged with could have serious, lifelong consequences. Consider hiring a private attorney who specializes in these types of crimes. You’ll get expert advice and will typically get a better outcome.

Want help? Contact me today.