Computer hacking is the great train robbery or jewellery heist of the 21st century.

Traditional thefts such as chain-snatching and gold robbery now seem to be the petty thefts in comparison to hacking, which is constantly hitting the headlines.

Hacking, commonly defined as breaking into computer systems with a view to access information, is a criminal offence and if found guilty it can hold a jail term of up to two years.

These days

corporate espionage occurs on a regular basis and businesses spend millions of pounds implementing security measures to protect sensitive information.

Although this area is a specialist one, I would like to touch on some of the prime legislation surrounding hacking…

What if you suspect an act of hacking but aren’t sure it actually occurred?

The first measure is to collect evidence by either calling experts or informing the police who can investigate the matter.

The Computer Misuse Act 1990 (CMA) is the governing statute in the UK which deals with the prosecution of hackers.

It states that a person is guilty of an offence if he causes a computer to perform a function with the intent to access a program or data on a computer and knows that the access is unauthorised.

With the changes in technology, a computer is no longer just your standard desktop or laptop – it can be any device that accesses data over the internet – such as mobile phones and tablets.

Hacking not only includes accessing data, it can also mean the information is changed or erased, copied, moved or used by the criminal.

For the purposes of a prosecution, it is adequate to show a person has secured access to any program or data held on any computer – whether it is owned by you or not.

If you have been a victim of hacking you will also be entitled to make a civil claim for damages – depending on the facts of the case.

If you have been a victim of hacking and require legal advice call 01727 858 807.

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