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What are the most common internet crimes?

Computers and the internet have made life easier for almost everybody -- but it's also made it easier than ever to get in trouble with the law. You can now commit a serious crime remotely, without even leaving your home or office.

A computer crime is, at its most basic, any crime that requires the use of a computer. Keeping in mind that even your cellular phone is a powerful little computer, here are some of the most common computer crimes:

  1. Hacking: This involves the deliberate breach of another computer's security system or operations. Hacking can include the theft of important information, like passwords or personal identities. It can also include DDoS attacks and botnets that are designed to disrupt normal operations.
  2. Fraud: Many forms of fraud require the use of computers these days, whether that means grifting small amounts from large accounts or using the internet to transfer funds illegally to offshore accounts.
  3. Viruses: Computer viruses serve no purpose other than to damage individual computers, whole networks and large systems that are relied on by companies and governments alike.
  4. Ransomware: These malware-based crimes are designed to hold a computer system "hostage" until the agency or entity that needs the system pays up. In the case of hospitals, ransomware has been known to endanger lives.
  5. Spamming: Spam mail is more than annoyance -- it can land you in jail. Unsolicited emails that are deceptive and malicious have landed some spammers in jail.
  6. Piracy: The modern pirate is hiding on the internet, not the high seas. Computer piracy involves the theft of intellectual material, like software, even if you don't intend to resell it.

Whatever computer or internet crime you are accused of committing, it's important to protect your rights. An aggressive defense may help you mitigate the most severe consequences of a mistake.

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