Computer Crime Statutes

6/14/2018

 

Computer crime laws encompass a variety of actions that destroy or interfere with normal operation of a computer system.

Hacking is breaking into computer systems, frequently with intentions to alter or modify existing settings. When malicious in nature, these break-ins may cause damage or disruption to computer systems or networks. People with malevolent intent are sometimes referred to as "crackers"--as in "cracking" into computers.

All 50 states have computer crime laws; most address unauthorized access or computer trespass. Some state laws also directly address other specific types of computer crime, such as spyware, phishing, denial of service attacks, and ransomware, as shown below.

PLEASE NOTE: Additional state and federal laws may apply to various other types of computer crimes (e.g., unfair and deceptive practices acts). NCSL serves state legislators and their staff.This site provides general comparative information only and should not be relied upon or construed as legal advice. NCSL cannot provide assistance with individual cases.

Laws Addressing Hacking, Unauthorized Access, Computer Trespass, Viruses, Malware

"Unauthorized access" entails approaching, trespassing within, communicating with, storing data in, retrieving data from, or otherwise intercepting and changing computer resources without consent. These laws relate to either or both, or any other actions that interfere with computers, systems, programs or networks.

Viruses or contaminants are a set of computer instructions that are designed to modify, damage, destroy, record, or transmit information within a computer system or network without the permission of the owner. Generally, they are designed to infect other computer programs or computer data, consume resources, modify, destroy, record or transmit data, and disrupt normal operation of a computer system.

Laws Addressing Hacking, Unauthorized Access, Computer Trespass, Viruses, Malware
STATE CITE
Alabama Ala. Code §§ 13A-8-112, 13A-8-113
Alaska Alaska Stat. § 11.46.740
Arizona Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-2316,13-2316.01,13-2316.02
Arkansas Ark. Code §§ 5-41-101 to -206
California Cal. Penal Code § 502
Colorado Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-5.5-101 to -102
Connecticut Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-250 to 53a-261
Delaware Del. Code tit. 11,§ 931 to 941
Florida Fla. Stat. § 815.01 to 815.07, §§668.801to .805
Georgia Ga. Code §§ 16-9-90 to 16-9-94,§§ 16-9-150 to 16-9-157
Hawaii Hawaii Rev. Stat. §§ 708-890 to 708-895.7
Idaho Idaho Code §18-2201, § 18-2202
Illinois 720 ILCS § 5/17-50 to -55
Indiana Ind. Code §§ 35-43-1-8, 35-43-2-3
Iowa Iowa Code § 716.6B
Kansas Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-5839
Kentucky Ky. Rev. Stat.§§434.840, 434.845, 434.850, 434.851, 434.853, 434.855, 434.860
Louisiana La. Rev. Stat.Ann.§§ 14:73.1 to 14:73.8
Maine Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 17-A, § 431 to 435
Maryland Md. Code, Crim. Law § 7-302
Massachusetts Mass. Gen. Laws Ann.ch. 266, § 33A
Michigan Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 752.791, 752.792, 752.793, 752.794, 752.795, 752.796, 752.797
Minnesota Minn. Stat. §§ 609.87 to 609.893
Mississippi Miss. Code § 97-45-1 to 97-45-33
Missouri Mo. Rev. Stat.§ 537.525,§ 569.095,§ 569.097,§ 569.099
Montana Mont. Code Ann.§ 45-2-101,§ 45-6-310,§ 45-6-311
Nebraska Neb. Rev. Stat.§§ 28-1341 to28-1348
Nevada Nev. Rev. Stat. § 205.473 to 205.513
New Hampshire N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§638:16, 638:17, 638:18,638:19
New Jersey N.J. Rev. Stat.§§ 2A:38A-1 to -3, § 2C:20-2, §§ 2C:20-23 to 34
New Mexico N.M. Stat. § 30-45-1 to 30-45-7
New York N.Y. Penal Law § 156.00 to 156.50
North Carolina N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-453 to 14-458
North Dakota N.D. Cent. Code § 12.1-06.1-08
Ohio
Ohio Rev. Code §§ 2909.01, 2909.04, 2909.07(A)(6), 2913.01 to 2913.04
Oklahoma Okla. Stat. tit.21, §§1951 to 1959
Oregon Or. Rev. Stat. § 164.377
Pennsylvania 18 Pa. Stat. § 5741 to 5749
Rhode Island R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-52-1 to 11-52-8
South Carolina S.C. Code § 16-16-10 to 16-16-40
South Dakota S.D. Cod. Laws § 43-43B-1 to § 43-43B-8
Tennessee Tenn. Code §§39-14-601, 602, 603, 604, 605
Texas Tex. Penal Code § 33.02
Utah Utah Code § 76-6-702 to 76-6-705
Vermont Vt. Stat.Ann. tit. 13, § 4101 to 4107
Virginia Va. Code§§ 18.2-152.1 to-152.15,§ 19.2-249.2
Washington Wash. Rev. Code§ 9A.90.010 et seq.
West Virginia W. Va. Code §§ 61-3C-3 to 61-3C-21
Wisconsin Wis. Stat. § 943.70
Wyoming Wyo. Stat. § 6-3-501 to § 6-3-506, §40-25-101

 

Laws Addressing Denial of Service Attacks

Updated 1/31/2019

In a denial-of-service attack, an attacker floods the bandwidth or resources of a targeted system or servers with traffic, thereby preventing legitimate users from accessing information or services. In a distributed denial of service attack, the attacker compromises and takes control of multiple computers with security flaws and uses them to launch the denial-of-service attack.

At least 25 states have laws that directly address denial of service attacks.

Laws Addressing Denial of Service Attacks
STATE CITE

Alabama

Ala. Code § 13A-8-112(5)

Arizona

Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-2316(4)

Arkansas

Ark. Code § 5-41-203(a)

California

Cal. Penal Code § 502

Connecticut

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-251

Delaware

Del. Code tit. 11, § 934

Florida

Fla. Stat. § 815.06

Georgia

Ga. Code § 16-9-93

Illinois

720 ILCS § 5/17-51

Indiana

Ind. Code § 35-43-1-8

Louisiana

La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 14:73-4

Mississippi

Miss. Code § 97-45-5

Missouri

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 569.099

Nevada

Nev. Rev. Stat. § 205.477

New Hampshire

N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 638:17

North Carolina

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-456, 14-456.1

Ohio

Ohio Rev. Code § 2909.01

Oklahoma

Okla. Stat. tit. 21, § 1953

Pennsylvania

18 Pa. C.S.A. § 7612

South Carolina

S.C. Code § 16-16-10

Tennessee

Tenn. Code § 39-14-601

Virginia

Va. Code § 18.2-152.4

Washington

Wash. Rev. Code § 9A.90.060

West Virginia

W. Va. Code § 61-3C-8

Wyoming

Wyo. Stat. § 6-3-504

 

Laws Addressing Ransomware and Computer Extortion

Updated 9/10/2019

Ransomware is computer malware that is installed covertly on a victim's computer and preventing access to it, followed by demands for a ransom payment in exchange for returning access or not publishing or exposing data held on the computer.

At least five states, California, Connecticut, Michigan, Texas and Wyoming, expressly criminalize “ransomware” and/or computer extortion in statute, as follows. However, existing laws in other states that prohibit extortion and computer crimes such as malware or computer trespass may also be used to prosecute ransomware crimes.