The rise of ransomware means the risk of charges

Ransomware is a type of malware that holds digital files and information “for ransom.” For example, one of the most common attacks involves someone using ransomware to confiscate a social media account or personal photos and demand payment to return them to the user.

You may already be familiar with the concept of ransomware. However, ransomware attacks have become prevalent around Tennessee in the last few months. So, here are some critical things to know about the potential consequences.

Using ransomware is against federal law

While there are no federal laws that specifically address ransomware by name, the use of this malware falls under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Therefore, like many other computer crimes, instigating a ransomware attack can lead to federal charges, including:

  • Steep fines
  • Up to five years in prison for one offense

Those are not the only consequences, however. Depending on the circumstances and users affected by ransomware, penalties could multiply exponentially to include conspiracy to commit fraud or other serious charges.

Important note for parents

Teenagers in this day and age are tech-savvy. In some cases that can be a good thing. However, where some teens see hacking or using ransomware as a prank, it could land them in a lot of legal trouble.

There are more and more news reports of teenagers using ransomware, whether as pranks on their friends or against companies. It is critical to be aware of your child’s online activities.

Enforcement challenges do not reduce risk

One unique issue with computer crimes, like ransomware attacks, is it can often be a challenge for law enforcement to track down the person responsible. After all, on the internet, it is easy to cross state lines and hide one’s physical location.

However, these challenges do not reduce the risk of facing consequences. Advances in technology may increase opportunity, but that only means law enforcement concentrates more on these areas.

Computer crime charges are no small matter in the digital age. They can have a very real effect on your personal and professional life – and your future. It is important to seek knowledgeable defense as soon as possible.

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