Computer Crime Statutes


Alternative Text

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.

Computer crime laws encompass a variety of actions that destroy or interfere with normal operation of a computer system. Computer trespass, unauthorized access (or access exceeding permission that was granted to a user), or hacking is breaking into computer systems, frequently with intentions to alter, disable or modify existing settings. When malicious in nature, these break-ins may cause damage or disruption to computer systems or networks. Additional state and federal laws may apply to various other types of computer crimes (e.g., unfair and deceptive practices acts, etc.).

Note: 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 and 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 these and other actions that interfere with computers, systems, programs or networks.

Malware and viruses (viruses are a type of malware) 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 or Malware
State Citation
Alabama Ala. Code §§ 13A-8-112 
Alaska Alaska Stat. § 11.46.740
Arizona Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-2316,13-2316.01,13-2316.02
Arkansas Ark. Code §§ 5-41-101 et seq.
California Cal. Penal Code § 502
Colorado Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 18-5.5-101 to -102
Connecticut Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 53a-250 to 53a-261, 53-451
Delaware Del. Code tit. 11 §§ 931 to 941
Florida Fla. Stat. §§ 815.01 to 815.07668.801to .805
Georgia Ga. Code §§ 16-9-90 to 16-9-9416-9-150 to 16-9-157
Hawaii Hawaii Rev. Stat. §§ 708-890 to 708-895.7
Idaho Idaho Code §§ 18-2201 et seq.
Illinois 720 ILCS §§ 5/17-50 to -55
Indiana Ind. Code §§ 35-43-1-8, 35-43-2-3
Iowa Iowa Code §§ 716.6B, 702.1A, 702.14, 714.1(8)
Kansas Kan. Stat. § 21-5839
Kentucky Ky. Rev. Stat. §§ 34.840, 434.845, 434.850, 434.851, 434.853, 434.855, 434.860
Louisiana La. Rev. Stat..§§ 14:73.1 to 14:73.8
Maine Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 17-A, §§ 431 to 435
Maryland Md. Stat. Crim. Law § 7-302
Massachusetts   Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 266 § 33A, ch. 266 § 120F
Michigan Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 752.791 et seq.
Minnesota Minn. Stat. §§ 609.87 to 609.893
Mississippi Miss. Code §§ 97-45-1 et seq.
Missouri Mo. Rev. Stat.§§ 537.525, 569.095569.097, 569.099
Montana Mont. Code Ann. §§ 45-2-10145-6-310, 45-6-311
Nebraska Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 28-1341 to 28-1348
Nevada Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 205.473 to 205.513
New Hampshire N.H. Rev. Stat. §§ 38:16, 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 .50
North Carolina N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 14-453 to 14-458
North Dakota N.D. Cent. Code § 12.1-06.1-08


Ohio Rev. Code §§ 909.01(E-G), 2909.04(B), 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. C.S.A. §§ 7601 et seq.
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 et seq.
Tennessee Tenn. Code §§ 9-14-601, 602, 604, 605
Texas Tex. Penal Code § 33.01 

Utah Code §§ 76-6-701 et seq. 

Vermont Vt. Stat.Ann. tit. 13, §§ 4101 et seq.
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 et seq., 40-25-101

Laws Addressing Denial of Service Attacks

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 26 states have laws that directly address denial of service attacks.

Laws Addressing Denial of Service Attacks
State Citation


Ala. Code § 13A-8-112(5)


Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-2316(4)


Ark. Code § 5-41-203(a)


Cal. Penal Code § 502


Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-251


Del. Code tit. 11, § 934


Fla. Stat. § 815.06(2)(b)


Ga. Code § 16-9-93(b)(2)


Ind. Code § 35-43-1-8


La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 14:73-4


Miss. Code § 97-45-5


Mo. Rev. Stat. § 569.099


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 Rev. Code § 2909.01


Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1953


18 Pa. C.S.A. § 7612

South Carolina

S.C. Code § 16-16-10(3)


Tenn. Code § 39-14-601

Texas Tex. Penal Code § 33.022 
Utah Utah Code § 76-6-703(10)


Va. Code § 18.2-152.4


Wash. Rev. Code § 9A.90.060

West Virginia

W. Va. Code § 61-3C-8


Wyo. Stat. § 6-3-504



Laws Addressing Ransomware and Computer Extortion 

Dec. 16, 2020

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 six states, listed below, 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. 

Laws Addressing Ransomware and Computer Extortion
State Citation
California Calif. Penal Code § 523
Connecticut   Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-262 
Michigan Mich. Penal Code §§ 750.409b, Section 777.16t
Texas Tex. Penal Code § 33.023
West Virginia

WV Code §§ 61-3C-3 to 61-3C-4  

Wyoming Wyo. Stat. §§ 6-3-506, 6-3-507 

Laws Addressing Spyware

Coming soon.

Laws Addressing Phishing

Coming soon.