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What is the

Computer Misuse

Act?

Want to hack you neighbor’s computer? Better read this first: If your computer systems are attacked, what recourse do you have to the law? The Computer Misuse Act (CMA) officially became law in 1990 after passing through Parliament. The act came into force following a high-profile hack which saw emails leaked belonging to the Duke of Edinburgh. This was carried out by journalists Robert Schifreen and Stephen Gold, who were trying to show the limitations of an ageing security system around BT's Prestel service. They managed to access the login details of 50,000 Prestel customers at the same time. Despite this, since there was no relevant legislation at the time, the pair could not be properly prosecuted. Instead they were charged and convicted of forgery (by forging the password for sysadmin privileges) but the verdict was later overturned on appeal. The 1990 act was created to close this loophole and provide greater controls over the prosecution of cybercrime. The CMA criminalises the unauthorised access of computer systems, which means accessing one in order to commit or facilitate further offences. It also applies to anyone accessing a system to impair the operation of any program as well as modifying any data that doesn't belong to you. Most importantly, in order for there to be an offence under the CMA, the prosecutors must be able to show intent. For example, it wouldn't be a crime for someone to accidentally connect to a server or network they don't have permission to access. On the other hand, it is illegal for someone intending to access a system with the knowledge that they don't have permission to do so. Penalties Under the act, unauthorised access to computer material carries a penalty of up to £5,000 and/or up to two years in prison. Unauthorised access to a computer in order to commit another offence carries a penalty of up to £5,000 and/or up to five years in prison. Unauthorised acts with intent to impair, or with recklessness as to impairing, the operation of a computer, carries a penalty of up to £5,000 and/or up to 10 years in prison. Read more...  

Computer Misuse: Hacking, Copyright Violation and

More

If you know something about computers, you must be aware that computer data can be misused in numerous ways. One of the most common misuses of computers occurs when a piece of software is reproduced that has no permission to reproduce from the manufacturer. While this is a very common type of misuse, there are a lot more different kinds of computer misuse. Some of the main misuse types are explained below: Hacking When an unauthorized party makes use of a network and internet to access secure data from another computer, the process is called hacking. It can be used to steal passwords, look into confidential data, slow down a website, and others. Very often, hackers target private computer networks. A hacker may even access government or corporate data using advanced techniques. Unauthorized transfer There are many ways in which data can be illegally transferred using an internet network or storage device from one computer to another. Usually, such a process utilizes hard drives, memory sticks, or DVDs. Research data from companies, personal data from personal computers, textbooks, novels etc. can be transferred illegally. That is, by infringement of copyright. Copyright violation Movies and music are very often violated by illegal transfer or sharing. A person may upload a copyrighted material on the internet so that others can access it illegally. Usually, most contents have copyright from its publication company or distribution partner. Copyright violation occurs when such content is used without permission. Pornography A lot of material that is indecent by social standards can be found on the internet. Very often, these contents are stored as electronic data illegally. In the past, many cases have occurred when such materials were uploaded or shared illegally. If things go south, a person possessing such materials can be prosecuted. Financial and identity fraud Sometimes, an unauthorized person may steal credit card information to purchase things online or offline. This is a sort of financial fraud. Most financial frauds are complex in nature and very deceptive. These frauds are taken very seriously by authorities because of their nature. Printing of currency illegally using a colored printer falls in this category too. Virus Viruses are non-cellular digital programs that have the capacity to replicate themselves and store programs and files on other computers without permission. While most viruses are quite simple in nature, the amount of trouble they can cause to a computer can be harsh.