The way we use the Internet is constantly changing, and with it, the laws surrounding what we can and cannot do. Because of this, it can be difficult to keep up with regulations. Even if you don't realize it, one wrong move could have you facing criminal charges. This may be the case regarding one incident with a 21-year-old Ohio man who has been associated with Anonymous, a hacker group, and has been charged with two separate counts of computer intrusion. Although the attacks took place outside of Ohio, this federal court criminal prosecution raises issues that apply equally within our state.
The 21-year-old is facing federal cybercrime charges for allegedly hacking into two police websites in a different state. The man may have targeted websites outside of his own state in the hopes of the trail not leading back to him. Nevertheless, it seems as though his tracks weren't covered properly.
He pleaded not guilty on April 16. The man reportedly gained access to narcotic tips and more. He purportedly went on to deliberately damage servers that hosted two law enforcement websites. Government officials claim that approximately $188,000 was spent by the two organizations affected to mitigate these attacks
He is charged with two counts of computer intrusion on a server. Court documents state that an FBI investigation led investigators to a Twitter account that an apparent hacker was using. This Twitter account allegedly served as a way for the hacker to take credit for the intrusions. The IP address was then tracked back to the 21-year-old, who supposedly has a link to a hacker-activist network known as Anonymous.
If the young Ohio man is convicted, he could face as many as 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines. While these serious consequences mandate that a vigorous and meaningful criminal defense be prepared, it is the sole burden of the government to prove its allegations in a federal criminal courtroom beyond a reasonable doubt. That is no small task. Nevertheless, the man will need to focus on each element of each crime charged to ensure that his legal rights are protected while he holds the prosecution to its proof.
Source: Government Security News, "Man linked to Anonymous charged with hacking Utah police Websites," Mark Rockwell, April 17, 2012