Cybercrime as an international problem

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Cybercrime is an international problem that’s faced every day. Regardless of the prevention techniques in place, the infrastructure of companies, corporations, and individuals are at risk for various types of cybercrimes. Cybercrimes are defined by Mirriam-Webster as criminal activities that are carried out using a computer especially when transmitting, manipulating, or accessing data (Miriam-Webster 2018).

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Currently, there is no way to completely prevent these crimes from occurring, however it is possible to put best practices into place. The United States uses three broad approaches in effort to prevent and react to cybercrimes: Criminal, civil, and voluntary industry guidelines. Internationally these industry best practices vary. After a comparison of the U.S. and international law, the U.S. application of all three practices appears to be the best technique for prevention and response to cybercrimes, however the UK, Russia, and China also have excellent laws and regulations in place. While these countries have a great set of comprehensive laws, there is always room for improvement.

United States Approach to Cybersecurity:

As mentioned above the United States incorporates three different approaches for cybersecurity. The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2015 cover the criminal sanction while the laws pertaining to negligence and HIPPA compliance in the health care field set forth civil liability. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) created a cybersecurity framework that sets forth a voluntary standard.


The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) of 1986 18 U.S.C.S. § 1030, an amendment to the computer fraud law, made it a federal crime to access computers without appropriate authorization and obtaining any information about any US department or agency, financial records/consumer information, and anything collected from a protected computer. The United States v. Nosal outlined the definition of exceeds authorized access as authorized access to computers and use access to obtain or alter information that the accessor does not have entitlement to do so (United States v Nosal, 676 F3d 854 [9th Cir 2012].) The act has been amended several times since inception, and has expanded its scope beyond its original intention which covered only U.S. government computer and some financial systems. The Patriot Act of 2001 came shortly after the 9/11 attacks and was an update to the CFAA allowing for expanded access for law enforcement to investigate possible acts of terrorism. In 2015, President Barack Obama’s administration saw a major problem in the United States infrastructure finding that several hundreds of millions of dollars has been stolen via intrusion due to the weakness, and the Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO)(18 U.S Code Chapter 96) was put in place in an effort to rid organized crime in the United States. Penalties for violation of the CFAA include range from fines to imprisonment up to 20 years in some instances.

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