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Authorization is the key with computer crimes

For those accused of computer crimes in Pennsylvania, the entire case will often focus around authorization. If the person did not have it, he or she could be charged with a felony that can lead to years behind bars. If he or she can show that authorization was given, though, the charges can be dropped, even when there was some negative impact to the computer or the network.

Many computer crimes involve hacking. This is when someone breaks into another person's computer for the purpose of destroying files, putting a virus in the system, stealing someone's identity and personal information more. Hacking can be done at the source -- when a person goes directly to the terminal to log in -- or it can be done remotely, though an Internet connection or a network connection.

This is why authorization is such a big part of the process. If someone allows a third party to access the computer for any reason, this means it is technically not a hacking case, as that person was told to go into the system's memory. In some cases, the person may have to break his or her way in -- such as when the owner forgets the password -- but this is still not hacking if he or she had permission to do so.

That doesn't mean a crime can't be committed. It a tech is allowed to work on a computer and then he or she steals important information that had nothing to do with the job at hand, it could still be identity theft or information theft. It just wouldn't be hacking, as well.

All those who are accused of computer crimes must know the exact charges they face and what legal options they have.

Source: FindLaw, "Overview of Pennsylvania Computer Crime Laws," accessed Aug. 25, 2015

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