The Catholic University of America

Of Counsel - A Bulletin on Legal Issues at CUA - August 1999


Hacking, Cracking and Similar Activities

Under the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and under a variety of similar state and federal statutes, it can be a crime to access or use a computer without authorization, to alter data in a computer without authorization, to transmit computer viruses and "worms" over computer networks, to conduct "e-mail bombing" and to engage in other similar activities. Engaging in such activities also can make you liable for monetary damages to any person who is harmed by your activities.

The fact that you may have the technical ability to do any of these things, or that another computer owner may not have properly safeguarded his or her computer, does not mean that you have authorization. If you do not know for sure whether you have authorization, you probably do not.

Links updated 8/4/08 rab