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Cybercrime is any illegal activity that involves a computer or the Internet. The most common activities are data breaches, hacking, malware and phishing. These crimes cost businesses millions of dollars each year. They can also cause damage to investor perception and make it harder for companies to raise money. The best way to protect your company against these threats is to work with a skilled cyber crime attorney early.

The Internet has enabled criminals to find new ways to commit old crimes. Prior to the Internet, criminals had to dig through people’s trash or intercept mail to steal their personal information; now they can hack into their accounts, steal their passwords or infect their devices with viruses. Cybercriminals are also finding ways to profit from their illicit activities. They are increasingly professional, treating cyber crime as a business and forming global criminal communities.

The Federal government and many states have established laws dealing with cybercrime, ranging from general data protection to specific types of crimes like extortion. These laws can include heavy fines for offenders. Civil damages are also available for victims, which can be awarded by a court in addition to any criminal penalties imposed on the offender. For example, a company that was a victim of ransomware might seek damages from the criminal to cover costs for lost files or repairs. In some cases, the criminal may even face jail time. The United States Secret Service (USSS) investigates cases that involve electronic crimes, and it operates the National Computer Forensics Institute to provide state and local law enforcement, judges and prosecutors with training in cyber forensics. The USSS also oversees the Internet Crime Complaint Center, which accepts online complaints from victims of cyber crime or interested third parties.