Criminal Activity and Social Networking Websites

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 What is Social Networking?

Social networking websites supply an assortment of ways for users to interact, such as email and instant messaging services. They have also enabled unique ways to communicate and share information.

The popularity of social networking sites has multiplied in recent years, and they help individuals stay in touch. They also let small business owners connect with other businesses and clients, and they offer individuals the opportunity to network with individuals they would not be able to meet otherwise.

Also, users can chat with each other like texting on specific social network websites. Nevertheless, the growing rage and mainstream use of these websites have also been escorted by the rise of cybercrime.

What Is Cyber Crime?

The word “cybercrime” refers to offenses perpetrated using computers and the internet. Also referred to as computer-oriented crime, it typically involves a computer and a network. Cybercrimes can also be executed using other appliances, such as tablets and cell phones. Under such meanings, the computer or device could either be used to commission the crime, or it may be the target.

Cybercrimes are punishable crimes. Such offenses can include many specific actions but typically involve the theft of personal data, bank account info, and online investments. As technology advances and grows rapidly, the number of cybercrimes and cybercriminals has become a daily reality.

Further, cybercrime can be challenging to glimpse because of quick technological advancements. It can be challenging for the appropriate authorities to stay on top of the many diverse techniques and criminalities in circulation. Because of this, no one is unsusceptible from being a victim of cybercrimes.

Targets of cyber crimes most typically include but are not limited to:

  • People;
  • Organizations;
  • Institutions;
  • Banks;
  • Schools;
  • Governments; and
  • Other entities, such as hospitals.

What Are Some Crimes Involving Social Network Websites?

Because social network websites have a significant deal of private data, there have been many considerations regarding crime and privacy.

Some instances of crimes perpetrated through these websites include:

  • Identity theft involves taking the personal or financial data of someone else;
  • Cons and fraud schemes that can involve fake profiles;
  • Cyberbullying results in emotional distress;
  • Cyberstalking;
  • Cyber confessions where criminals brag about their crimes on social networking websites;
  • Cyber dangers, including threats of violence;
  • Website hacking; and
  • Violating privacy and copyright regulations.

Hacking Laws

There are numerous computer crimes, but some of the most typical examples involve hacking. Data breaches are becoming increasingly standard, and hacking has influenced all facets of life, from economics to politics.

Hacking is not always a crime. There are varying degrees of hacking. Regardless, hacking is becoming increasingly prevalent in our culture. It’s essential to comprehend what hacking is and where the law draws the line. Read on to understand more about hacking regulations, penalties for hacking, and what remedies may apply to victims of hacking.

What Is Hacking?

Hacking may be described as unauthorized access or entry into computers, computer files, online storage mechanisms, and other computer-related technologies. This entry often results in a data breach. Usually, hacking aims to obtain personal information such as financial records, bank accounts, company client profiles, trade secrets, copyrighted information, and other similar types of information. A person who is skilled at hacking and repeatedly engages in the activity is often labeled a “hacker.”

Many additional crimes often involve some form of hacking. For example, identity theft typically happens when a hacker gains access to a person’s identity files and data. One of the major hardships with hacking is that it can be challenging to trace a hacker’s actions. Yet, many different programs and computer mechanisms are developed to control and trace computer fraud and hacking activities.

Hacking is not always a crime. Hackers are sometimes lawfully given consent to manipulate security networks. In other words, hackers occasionally have the proper permission or consent to test the safety of a network.

Hacking crosses the line and becomes illegal when hackers access a computer system without permission or authorization. If a hacker acts without permission or any legal authorization from a law enforcement agency or a court order and proceeds to:

  • Pierce a business’s firewall to access private information, or
  • Use phishing methods to install malware onto a desktop or laptop computer with the intention to monitor communications, then they can be charged with a crime.

What Are Some Examples of Hacking?

Hacking can be achieved through many different means. These can include:

  • Stealing someone’s password or computer security information
  • Using computer programs or viruses to access computer files
  • Physically swiping computer hardware and accessing the data later
  • Using online mechanisms or other cybercrime techniques to acquire entry into computer networks from a remote site
  • Accessing data stored in “cloud” storage devices
  • Meddling with wi-fi connections to achieve access to local networks
  • Acquiring password/security information through legal means, then abusing those access privileges for personal use (this is common in embezzlement-related cases)
  • Changing computer codes or website details

What Are the Federal Hacking Laws?

Several federal regulations address the problem of hacking. These laws include:

  • The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA)
  • The Stored Communications Act (SCA)
  • The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (EPCA)
  • The Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA)

How Do Hackers Use Social Network Websites?

Hackers break into financial or other accounts by clicking the “forgot your password” link on the account login page. They search for answers to your security questions, such as your birthday or home town to break into your account.

To bypass this, make up your password questions if the site permits and do not draw them from material that anyone could encounter with a brief search. Furthermore, hackers break into accounts and send messages that look like they are from your friends but are not.

This also includes invitations to join new social networks. If you sense that a message is dishonest, use a different method to contact your friend to find out.

Can Information from a Social Network Website Be Used in a Criminal Trial?

Many lawyers and judges have started using information from social network websites as evidence in a trial. This has caused much discussion, but the consensus is that such details can be used as evidence in court, occasionally without getting the individual’s permission.

Also, if a defendant is claiming a certain defense, data from a social network website that nullifies this defense can be used against the defendant. Employers also often use details from social network websites in workplace dispute lawsuits.

What Can I Do to Stay Safe?

If you are presently using social networking websites, some suggested advice to safeguard yourself from online crimes are:

  • Avoid clicking on links to questionable websites;
  • Do not give out personal details to strangers;
  • Be picky about who you accept as a friend on a social network;
  • Be cautious about choosing a social network website and check its privacy policies;
  • Use the website’s privacy settings;
  • Do not post messages, information, photos, or videos of yourself if you are not sure how an unauthorized party will use them;
  • Do not engage in chats or messaging with unfamiliar individuals; and
  • Do not respond to suspicious ads, notifications, or messages and delete them without opening them.

Should I Contact a Lawyer?

Suppose you are charged with criminal activity through social networking, including hacking, cyberstalking, or any other listed above. In that case, it is in your best interest to contact a criminal lawyer. With the advances in technology, crimes through social networks are taken seriously, and it is essential to be prepared to face trial.

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