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Last Updated on: 1st August 2023, 01:29 am
Malicious software, or what is commonly known as malware can be distributed through many different ways. Malware can be sent through email as an attachment or bundled in downloadable files. Malware can also be installed on a computer without the knowledge of the owner ever knowing that this malicious software has been installed on his or her computer. Examples of malware or malicious software include backdoors, trojans and computer viruses.
Anyone who is found to have caused malicious software to be installed on another person’s computer risks being charged for having committed a criminal offense that can attract federal or state charges. If you are accused of distributing malicious software it is important for you to know how to best defend yourself. We strongly recommend that you hire a distribution of malicious software lawyer who will defend you and explain to you the legal options that you have.
State Penalties for Distribution of Malicious Software
As stated above, distribution of malicious software is a serious criminal offense which can attract penalties from the state or federal court. In New York, the penal code has not prescribed a specific way in which malware can be prosecuted. However, those arraigned in court on the accusation of distributing malicious software can be charged with:
• Computer trespass- The New York Penal code section 156.10 makes it illegal for one to knowingly use, access a computer, computer service or network with the sole intention of committing or facilitating the commission of a felony. This is categorized as a Class E felony.
• Unauthorized access of a computer- The New York Penal code section 156.05 makes it illegal for one knowingly access a computer, computer network or computer service without the authorization of the owner. The code classifies this as a Class A misdemeanor.
• Computer tampering- This can be treated depending on the severity of the damage caused by the method used to tamper with the computer. The offenses can range from Class A misdemeanor to a Class C felony.
In some instances, these charges can be leveled against you even if you did not directly have access to anyone’s computer, as long as it can be proved that the malware which you distributed accessed the system. You can easily go to prison for over 10 years if convicted of first-degree computer tampering. The severity of these punishments reiterates the need for you to hire an experienced and sufficiently skilled distribution of malicious software lawyer to defend you in court.
Federal Penalties for Distribution of Malicious Software
At the federal level, 18 U.S. Code Section 1030 criminalizes the distribution of malicious software. Section 5(A) of the code expressly prohibits people from knowingly causing information, programs, code or commands to be transmitted to another person’s computer without proper authorization.
A federal prosecutor can prefer these charges against you if:
i. If you knowingly transmit information, programs, code or commands that can cause damage to the target computer.
ii. If you recklessly damage another person’s computer through the transmission of information, programs, code or commands.
iii. If you accidentally damage another person’s computer by trying to access it knowing too well that it is a protected computer.
The penalties for distribution of malicious software can range from one-year imprisonment and a fine of $100,00 to a prison sentence of 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000. The severity of the penalties in these cases will depend on the extent of damage caused by the malware and the past criminal history of the defendant.
How our attorneys can help
There are a number of defenses that can be used by our experienced distribution of malicious software lawyers to defend you in court. The possible defenses that can be raised include duress, entrapment and unintentional distribution of the malware. Our skilled lawyers will work on introducing doubt as to whether you committed the computer crime for which you have been accused of.
If you are accused of having taken part in the distribution of malicious software, make haste and hire our experienced distribution of malicious software lawyer who will explore all legal options and advise you on the best way to forward. Call us today and let us help you deal with the case.
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