Cyber Crime Defense Lawyer
We Defend Individuals and Corporations against Cyber Criminal Allegations.
Cyber crime targeting U.S. companies and the U.S. government is at an all-time high. The U.S. government is also paying more attention to cyber crime than ever before, and it is cracking down heavily those suspected of committing fraud, theft, and other offenses. If you are under federal investigation or facing federal prosecution for cyber crimes, you need to engage defense counsel immediately.
- Advances in the Internet have created a situation where individuals discover new ways to perpetrate crime via a computer system or other online device.
- It is sometimes hard for people and businesses to keep up with such changes; entities especially vulnerable include those with poor internal controls, inadequate management, and systems which fail to address cyber risks.
- Aware of this reality, the Cyber Division of the FBI has developed new strategies and advanced technologies with the specific purpose of prosecuting individuals and companies suspected of engaging in cybercrime.
- A pending investigation or charge of cybercrime can be a troublesome and confusing time not to mention the possibility of criminal penalties and jail time under U.S. law.
- Consider hiring an Internet crime defense attorney to work on your personalized defense and fight against cybercrime accusations.
In 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) sent a clear warning to cyber criminals: The DOJ is watching, and it is prepared to do what is necessary to protect the interests of U.S. companies and the U.S. government. In a public address, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced several first-of-their kind indictments and civil charges against foreign nationals and foreign entities accused of hacking U.S. companies and stealing billions of dollars’ worth of data and intellectual property (IP). The DOJ and other agencies have set their signs on foreign agents seeking to infiltrate federal government databases and influence American elections as well.
Cyber crimes are subject to severe penalties in the United States. Individuals accused of hacking, espionage, IP theft, and other crimes can face a multitude of charges, and the aggregate penalties for these charges can face millions of dollars in fines and effective life sentences. Companies accused of corporate theft and espionage can face multi-billion-dollar liability.
DOJ, FBI, and Other Federal Agencies are Targeting Foreign Cybercriminals
Recently, the DOJ, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and other federal agencies have indicated that they are aggressively targeting foreign cybercriminals. This includes foreign nationals living in the United States as well as foreign citizens living abroad, who may be extradited to the United States for prosecution. Companies involved in cybercrime targeted U.S. businesses and U.S. government agencies can face federal law enforcement action as well, and the DOJ, FBI, and other agencies are pursuing civil forfeitures to recoup U.S. entities’ losses and impose penalties intended to ensure that foreign companies are unable to target U.S. assets again.
Two significant recent examples of these federal law enforcement efforts are:
- In 2018, the DOJ obtained a grand jury indictment against a Chinese state-owned company, a Taiwan company, and three Taiwan citizens for economic espionage arising out of an alleged scheme to steal trade secrets from a U.S. company worth an estimated $8.75 billion. Potential penalties for the Taiwan citizens included 15 years in prison and $5 million in fines. The two companies faced more than $20 billion in forfeitures and fines. The Chinese company was also added to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s list of denied entities that are prohibited from buying goods and services in the United States.
- In early 2020, the FBI announced investigations targeting more than 1,000 suspected cases of Chinese cybercriminals targeting U.S. companies. According to FBI Director Christopher Wray, the investigations required the efforts of, “all 56 [FBI] field offices and span[ed] just about every industry and sector.” Wray also stated, “They’re not just targeting defense-sector companies. The Chinese have targeted companies producing everything from proprietary rice and corn seeds to software for wind turbines to high-end medical devices.” This represents an enormous increase in the FBI’s investigative efforts targeting Chinese economic espionage, with just 24 arrests being made in 2019.
What are Cyber Crimes?
Cybercrimes are crimes committed on the Internet, local networks, or via the use of computers. It refers to a category of offenses where the crime is committed by using any computer system.
Cybercrimes can be committed by attacking computer hardware and software or by using certain online threats like viruses or malware.
Cybercrimes can also be committed by attacking the financial means of an individual or corporation. These financial cybercrimes include phishing, fraud, or the theft of important financial information.
There are certain risk factors that make companies more susceptible to a possible cybercrime attack:
- inadequate management and security
- weak internal controls
- systems that fail to address cyber risks
- lack of understanding or education regarding cyber threats
- poor system integrity
Cybercrimes are generally classified in three categories:
- Cybercrimes against the individual – crimes that target an individual person or group of persons such as email harassment, phishing, and cyberstalking
- Cybercrimes against companies – crimes that target an entity instead of an individual person such as data breaches or cyber extortion.
- Cybercrimes against the government – crimes that target a nation’s security systems such as breaking into a government’s networks, hacking into government websites, or spreading propaganda against the government.
Thus, cybercrimes are one of the most novel and biggest issues in the nation. The ability of the computer system to manipulate data also presents a challenge to companies who are trying to keep up with the Internet’s latest capabilities or to companies who are facing unfair accusations.
We are here to both advise you with your concerns and defend you.
In the following sections, we will explain some examples of cybercrimes, how a typical investigation works, and what you can do to protect yourself.
Examples of Cybercrimes
There are many examples of cybercrimes:
- confidential information issues
- data security
- network/mobile security issues
- hardware and software attacks
- data or security breaches
- intellectual property disputes
- personal data challenges
- online harassment
- computer crime
- flood attacks
- online illegal scams
- identity theft
Our firm provides defense representation for individuals and companies facing DOJ, FBI, and other federal agency investigations targeting all forms of cyber crime. We represent individuals and companies domestically and abroad, and we have the team and resources required to effectively handle federal law enforcement matters anywhere in the United States. Our cyber crime defense lawyers encompasses cases involving allegations including (but not limited to):
Cyber intrusions used to gain access to proprietary information, business strategies, research and development, personally-identifying information (PII), and other information that can provide a competitive advantage can be both lucrative and extremely dangerous. We defend clients accused of hacking corporate servers, information databases, individual computers and smartphones, and other technology assets.
Data and IP Theft
Whether through illicit data transmissions or literally walking out the front door with millions or billions of dollars’ worth of data in the palm of your hand, all forms of data theft are subject to heavy prosecution and severe penalties in the United States. We represent employees, former employees, and other individuals accused of stealing data from U.S. businesses and U.S. citizens.
Corruption of Company or Government Insiders
Bribery, blackmailing, threats, and other measures used to corrupt company and government insiders can subject U.S. citizens and foreign nationals to a multitude of federal criminal charges. We have experience handling these types of charges both within and outside of the context of cyber crime allegations, and we can use this experience to build a strategic defense.
Economic espionage can take many forms, and the DOJ and FBI are currently on high alert for any potential signs of spying. This includes economic espionage targeting private companies, public companies, and colleges and universities. We represent professionals, researchers, and other individuals accused of infiltrating U.S. entities and institutions in order to gain access to sensitive and proprietary data.
Ransomware, Computer Viruses, and Other Cyber Attacks
Cyber attacks used to gain access to proprietary information, to secure ransoms, and to disrupt businesses and markets can cause extraordinary losses, and those accused of committing these crimes can face extraordinary penalties. Our cyber crime attorneys provide experienced federal defense representation for individuals and entities accused of deploying these attacks from within the United States and abroad.
The use of intrusive methods to gain access to PII, credit information, health information, financial accounts, and other personal data is a crime that is subject to substantial penalties under federal law. Each instance of identity theft (i.e. each identity stolen) can be prosecuted as a separate count, and this means that individuals and business organizations targeted for identity theft can face inordinate liability.
Bank Fraud, Computer Fraud, and Other Forms of Fraud
The use of intrusive methods to commit bank fraud, computer fraud, and other forms of fraud can also lead to prosecution for multiple counts of multiple federal crimes. Combined with charges for wire fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy (which are all common in computer-related white-collar criminal cases), these charges can lead to millions of dollars in fines and decades of federal imprisonment.
From buying and selling stolen information to conducting transactions involving illegal drugs and human trafficking, the U.S. crackdown on cyber crime means that individuals and businesses that engage in illicit transactions are at high risk for prosecution as well. Additionally, now that the U.S. government has labeled cryptocurrency as a potential national security threat (and now that federal authorities can identify the parties to cryptocurrency transactions), transactions conducted using Bitcoin and other digital currencies are facing enhanced scrutiny.
Malign Foreign Influence
The use of cyberattacks to influence U.S. elections has gained the full focus of divisions within the DOJ, FBI, and other agencies. Federal authorities are doing everything in their power to prevent foreign interference in the current election cycle, and individuals and organizations accused of seeking to influence the U.S. democratic process will face swift and severe retribution.
How Cybercrime Investigations Work
A cybercrime investigation involves the coordinated efforts between governmental entities to uncover the possible illicit activities of the perpetrator involving a computer system. Because these crimes are generally characterized by great sophistication and technological development, highly specialized experts will get involved in the process.
For instance, the investigating agency will employ experts in computer science, file systems, operating systems, hardware and software, and digital forensic analysts, as some examples. The techniques used by these experts can be complex and consist of extensive information gathering, digital forensics, and other extraction techniques.
There are many federal agencies that can get involved in the investigation of cybercrimes. The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are the two most popular federal agencies and departments responsible for prosecuting these offenses. Other federal entities that may get involved in the investigation include the U.S. Secret Service, the Federal Trade Commission, or the Internet Crime Complaint Center.
In addition, the National Security Agency may also be involved in certain circumstances along with the U.S. military. These agencies share information on the suspect including their entire digital footprint and online presence.
This can be very intimidating and disconcerting. Contact a cyber criminal defense attorney trained to stop these allegations in its tracks as soon as possible.
An investigation for cybercrime can lead to prosecution under the following federal provisions, as some examples:
- The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 (18 U.S.C. § 1030)
- Computer Fraud (18 U.S.C. 1030(a)(4))
- Extortionate Threats (18 U.S.C. 1030(a)(7))
- Computer Espionage (18 U.S.C. 1030(a)(1))
- Trafficking in Computer Access (18 U.S.C. 1030(a)(6))
- Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (18 U.S.C. § 2510)
- Money Laundering (18 U.S.C. 1956)
- Wiretap Act of 1968 (18 U.S. Code § 2511)
- CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (15 U.S.C. ch. 103)
- Aggravated identity theft (18 U.S.C. § 1028A)
- Criminal infringement of a copyright (18 U.S.C. § 2319)
- Fraud by wire, radio, or television (18 U.S.C. § 1343)
- Unauthorized publication or use of communications (47 U.S.C. 605)
- RICO Predicate Offenses (18 U.S.C. 1961(1))
- Federal Crimes of Terrorism (18 U.S.C. 2332b(g)(5)(B))
In addition to the federal legislation above, states have enacted their own laws prohibiting cybercrimes involving a computer system. Some of these states contain laws broader than federal regulation, making prosecution easier.
Our attorneys are here to help you. We understand you worked very hard in your career, and we will fight to protect your freedom and reputation.
How to Respond If You’ve Been Charged/Arrested in Connection with Cybercrime
A charge of cybercrime can result in substantial criminal penalties and jail time. An investigation could waste needless time, expense, and result in many challenges for your company, including damage to your reputation and loss of liberty.
The federal criminal process can be very lengthy, sometimes spanning months or years.
Do not divulge any information to a federal agent without first discussing with your attorney and having your attorney present. Understand your rights. Get an attorney on your side to defend you.
The defense attorneys at Oberheiden, P.C. have the experience and knowledge needed to prepare your defense to fight these accusations. Let us help you.
Our Cyber Crime Lawyers & National Security Team
Cyber crime investigations and prosecutions involving the DOJ, FBI, and other agencies are handled by our Cyber crime and National Security Team. The members of this team include:
- Nick Oberheiden, Founder of Oberheiden P.C.
- Amanda Marshall, Former U.S. Attorney
- John Sellers, Former DOJ Senior Trial Attorney
- Michael Koslow, Former DOD-OIG Supervisory Special Agent
- Ray Yuen, Former FBI Supervisory Special Agent
- Roger Back, Former DOJ-OIG Special Agent
If you or your company are being targeted for alleged cyber crimes against U.S. citizens, a U.S. business, or the U.S. government, you do not have time to waste. Contact us now to receive a free and confidential case assessment from a member of the Cybercrime and National Security Team at Oberheiden P.C. Call us today or contact our office for a free consultation. Our cyber crime defense attorneys and former federal agents are available to speak with prospective clients 24/7.
Cybercrime, Security Compliance, Foreign Influence, and Security Breaches
- Cyber Crime and National Security Compliance and Defense
- Cyber Crime and Counter Malign Foreign Influence Defense
- Cybersecurity Threats and Data Security Breaches
Cyber Crime Attorney – Internet Crime Defense | Federal Lawyer