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What is cybercrime, and how does the federal government view it?

Check it out via three sources (e.g., Google, Webster’s and a textbook) and get three similar yet likely differing responses.

The bottom line: So-called “cybercrime” is a materially and rapidly evolving subset of criminal law that has a somewhat elusive and even slippery feel to it.

That is, there are legions of definitions dissecting the term, and they are constantly undergoing variations. Cybercrime is a relatively recent phenomenon, with origins and applications that are being sorted out amidst ongoing technological changes.

However defined, though, cybercrime routinely emphasizes two key points. First, it is criminal activity that is attracting progressively closer attention from state and federal authorities. And, second, it is tied to computer control and manipulation.

Cybercrime stories are often of national and even global scope. Reference to terms like viruses, ransomware, spyware, sexting and phishing are common.

A key element in most cybercrime narratives is alleged wrongdoing that harms third parties in various ways. People have their identities stolen and confidential information pilfered. Bullying via the computer is a commonplace. Successful hacking efforts can deplete bank accounts, distort stock markets and extort money from companies to unfreeze their operating systems.

Criminal and civil regulators obviously take a dim view of that and well appreciate the broadly dire consequences that can result from especially virulent cyber activity. We duly note on our website at the established Houston criminal defense law firm of Hilder & Associates that, “The frequency of prosecution in this area is increasing and the penalties are severe.”

That renders it an imperative for any individual or business targeted in a cybercrime probe to timely secure help from a proven team of white collar defense attorneys. Government investigators act with resolve in computer-linked fraud matters. So too should a criminal suspect.

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