Cybercrimes on the Rise During COVID-19

April 14, 2020

Cybercrimes on the Rise During COVID-19

In the face of COVID-19, many Americans are working from home to follow social distancing mandates. But with these stay at home orders, some companies are utilizing online video platforms and group chats which have been invaded by hackers. Hacking into online platforms is just one way cybercrimes are occurring during COVID-19. But what happens if you’ve been accused of one?

Cybercrimes of COVID-19

RISKIQ has continued to run updated reports of cybercrimes as a result of COVID-19. Some of the most prominent include:

  • Zoombombing: After many reports have surfaced that online video conferencing platform Zoom was not as secure as once believed, companies are locking down their calls with password protection as Zoombombing attacks are on the rise. These hackers enter calls to eavesdrop, engage in social engineering and by selling phony video conference credentials.
  • Data Breaches: One San Francisco airport is reporting data breaches on two of their websites after hackers were able to gain login credentials.
  • Ransomware: Ransomware attacks can happen to anyone, even the government. Cybercriminals attacked a government organization, publishing a ransom note along with screenshots of compromised critical systems on Twitter demanding payment.
  • Fraud: With many retailers and online supplies out of personal protective gear and disinfectants, scammers are posting fraudulent ads claiming to sell masks, medications, testing kits and more to combat COVID-19. However, the reality is they are seeking your financial information.

Cybercrimes are not a joke in Pennsylvania. Under Pennsylvania law, unauthorized activities related to computer hardware, systems, and networks are strictly prohibited. But as technology changes, these laws also adapt, too.

Cybercrimes in Pennsylvania

There are numerous types of punishable cybercrimes in the Keystone state. They include:

  • Unlawful Use of Computers
  • Disruption of Service
  • Theft
  • Unlawful Duplication
  • Computer Trespass
  • Dissemination of viruses
  • Transmitting Electronic Mail Unlawfully
  • Harassment
  • Child Pornography
  • Stalking

Pennsylvania Penalties of Cybercrimes

There is not a clear-cut penalty for cybercrimes in Pennsylvania as it depends on a variety of factors. This includes the gravity of the act, prior criminal past, use of a deadly weapon or aggravating factors. In some cases, the penalty can amount to seven years in prison and fines up to $15,000. 

Possible Defenses to Pennsylvania Cybercrimes During COVID-19

Cybercrimes are not always what they seem. With the representation of a qualified criminal defense attorney, you may prove that there was consent to engage in the action, belief of having permission, and lack of intent.

Contact Us

If you have been charged with cybercrime in the midst of COVID-19, you will need to mount a strong defense. At Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano, we have decades of experience in criminal law. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

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