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What Actions Result in Criminal Charges for Information Warfare?

Cybercrime is on the rise in the United States. The State of New York is not immune to the increase in cybercrime accusations and prosecutions. Each year there are more charges for computer fraud, identity theft, and phishing schemes in New York than the year before. Not only is the number of prosecutions for cybercrimes increasing, but also changing technology has led to new categories of cybercrimes. One of these emerging areas of the law is information warfare.

A New York federal defense lawyer is seeing more investigations and charges for acts of information warfare than in previous years. Yet, many people aren’t yet aware what information warfare is, even if they are charged with a cybercrime in this category. As a New York federal defense lawyer, this is the time to explain this growing set of cybercrimes and what actions could result in criminal charges – all in the hope that this helps you avoid the serious consequences of a federal investigation or charges.

Information Warfare Isn’t Always a Crime – But Mostly, It Is

Not every act of information gathering is a crime in New York, but some are criminalized under the laws in New York and federal legislation on information warfare. An example of legal information “hacking” is the setup of APIs to share data and capabilities across systems and software. Another example is governments and other entities utilizing information to gain a business or political advantage in ways that are legal.

Stated most broadly, information warfare is the use of another entity’s trusted information for the purpose of exploiting that entity or another organization. Often, the information accessed is manipulated or altered in ways that are unexpected or unknown to the legitimate owner or processor of the information.

Information warfare also isn’t something new. Governments have engaged in forms of information warfare for a long time through canvassing, espionage, and the spread of propaganda, both good and bad. Today, the majority, if not all, of information warfare is carried out digitally, and a great deal of information warfare is illegal under federal law. A New York federal defense lawyer can tell you that when companies or individuals are engaged in information warfare it is probably for unlawful purposes. However, not everyone accused of information warfare is aware their actions violated the law or intended to act maliciously.

When Entitles Are Involved in Illegal Information

Most people accused of information warfare took purposeful steps to create chaos, invade, or disable a system or form of digital communication. However, this isn’t true of every entity accused of information warfare. Certain entities are wholly innocent of illegal activity and others inadvertently found themselves involved in illegal activity for a government or other organization. Here are some of the actions that a New York federal defense lawyer sees business operations become involved in information warfare.

It is always a crime to hack another entity or organization’s computer network or system. Even if you are intending to collect information or know-how for a benign purpose, you need permission and consent to access any type of digital network. These actions become a form of information warfare in New York when a system is accessed for the purpose of disabling a logistic or transportation network or altering the format on a communication platform, such as social media. Another example of malicious behavior that could be prosecuted is accessing information, particularly personal data, to spread viruses or malware.

How does information warfare differ from other cybercrimes? For a New York federal defense lawyer and other legal practitioners, the line between information warfare and other cybercrimes is still blurred. Certain actions that involve the manipulation of information and data are termed information warfare, while other hacks and manipulation actions are less clear-cut.

However, the major difference between information warfare and other actions is the use of information to manipulate, redirect interest, or spread propaganda. The level of sophistication of a scheme or activity can also influence whether it is termed information warfare. Typically, high technical and skilled actions are more likely to be fall under the terminology of information warfare. For example, the action by Russia to hack the United State elections through bots and social media is a good example of information warfare.

Defending Information Warfare Charges

If you are accused of misusing or manipulating information in New York, it is likely the charges fall under federal law – and you are in need of a New York federal defense lawyer. At Koch Law, information warfare and other forms of cybercrime are at the heart of our defense practice. We can help with your case. Call us at (844) 562-4529.