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The Latest in Cybercrime: Ransomware

The Latest in Cybercrime: Ransomware

As technology advances, so do efforts to exploit technology for both legal and illegal endeavors. As criminal defense attorneys in Cleveland, our law firm defends those accused of Internet crimes with ties to Ohio.

While cybercrimes often involve charges of possession of child pornography, Internet crime is rapidly expanding to reflect the ubiquitous presence of computers in our lives. Stalking, information theft and orchestrated attacks on business and governmental entities are serious crimes that can be committed using the Internet. These activities usually lead to state and federal criminal charges.

One recent trend in cybercrime is the appearance of ransomware, malware designed to lock a computer. A message is sent to its user that the computer has been compromised and promising delivery of a programming key to unlock the computer if a ransom is paid. Users who pay a fee find no key is delivered and their computer remains locked until the malware is removed.

Ransomware is often acquired by victims who download software by mistake or after being lured to download software to protect their computer. These drive-by downloads are a major source of computer viruses, malware and spyware.

In November, 2012, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) alerted consumers to a new cyber-scam where the perpetrators claim to be the IC3. They threaten reprisal for the victim unless ransom in the form of supposed fees is paid. Consumers victimized by ransomware are subject to extortion, identity theft and financial fraud.

Increasingly, sophisticated computer criminals and loosely affiliated criminal crews are being pursued by technologically savvy law enforcement units. In Ohio, Internet crime can easily become a federal offense leading to significant fines and prison time. If charged with a cybercrime, get legal help with federal crimes in Ohio.

Ill-considered crime against the government or Internet activity that leads to a national security threat could be considered treason. If you become aware that you are the subject of criminal investigation or are arrested for any cybercrime, speak with experienced legal counsel.


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