What is Cybercrime and Computer Crime?

Home Criminal OffencesWhat is Cybercrime and Computer Crime?

What are some general examples of cyber crime in Australia?

Author: Dennis Miralis, Cybercrime Lawyer

Australia and the digital age

Online security has become one of the fastest expanding industries for governments across the world. Maintaining security in the cyberspace creates trust and confidence for individuals, corporations and the public sector.

Cyber Attack Crime Data Breach

How does Cyber Crime affect Individuals?

  1. Photography and filming
  2. In some cases, it is illegal to photograph or film a person and publish or distribute the photo or footage. This conduct can give rise to an offence where the images being produced or distributed amount to ‘child abuse material’ or child pornography.

    Section 91K-91M of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) makes it an offence to film a person without their consent for your own sexual gratification.

  3. Cyber-bullying
  4. This type of cybercrime is not an offence in itself, but is a term used to refer to various online activities which have the intention to humiliate, distress, annoy or harass a person.

    It is very common for these offences to occur on blogs, social media sites and public forums. Possible offences include stalking or intimidating with intent to cause fear of physical or mental harm as per section 13 of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 (NSW).

    The Criminal Code (CTH) similarly carries offences between 474.15 to 474.17 that target people using a carriage service to threaten to kill, threaten serious harm or to menace, harass or offend.

How can Cyber Crime affect Corporations?

The Australian Government now holds annual Cyber Security meetings comprising of leaders from business and the research community to align initiatives and strategies to tackle emerging issues. The aim is to create a national partnership that is better able to detect, deter and respond to cyber security threats and anticipate risks.

  1. Computer Hacking and unauthorised access
  2. These offences relate to the use of software or hardware to access computer systems.

    In the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), the main offences around computer hacking include:

    • section 308D: the unauthorised modification of date with the intent to impair access to, or to impair the reliability, security or operation of any data held in a computer
    • section 308E: the unauthorised impairment of electronic communication to or from a computer.
      These offences are similarly found in Sections 476-478 of the Criminal Code (CTH).

  3. Online fraud
  4. Fraud is a serious offence found under Part 4AA of the Crimes Act (NSW) and Part 7.3 of the Criminal Code (CTH). 

    Section 192B of the Crimes Act (NSW) creates the offence of deception which caters for conduct by a person that causes a computer, machine or electronic device to make a response that a person is not authorised to cause it to make.

    This forms the basis for fraud in section 192E which is an offence where a person, by any deception, dishonestly obtains property belonging to another or obtains any financial advantage or causes financial disadvantage. Such an offence can be effected if committed virtually.

  5. Identity offences
  6. Identify offences fall within Part 4AB of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) and Part 9.5 of the Criminal Code (CTH) which are based on the illegal use of identification information. Identification information includes name, address, date of birth, driving licence, passport, credit card, biometric data or ABN and TFN.

    It is an offence to use or supply information with the intention of committing, or facilitating the commission of an indictable offence; section 192J of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) and section 372.1 of the Criminal Code (CTH).

    It is also an offence to possess identification information with the intention of committing or facilitating the commission of an indictable offence; section 192K of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) and section 372.2 of the Criminal Code (CTH).

Cyber Crime offences relating to children

  1. Child pornography and child abuse material
  2. It is an offence within section 91FB of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) to access, possess or distribute ‘child abuse material’.
    Child abuse material is defined broadly and covers any material that could depict or a describe a person who is, appears to be or is implied to be a child under the age of 16:

    • in a sexual pose or engaged in sexual activity;
    • in the presence of a person (or persons) in a sexual pose or engaged in sexual activity;
    • the private parts of a child; or
    • as a victim of torture, cruelty or physical abuse;

    in a way that a reasonable person would find offensive.

    In NSW, person found guilty of distributing child abuse material becomes a ‘registrable person’ under the Child Protection (Offenders Registration) Act 2000 (NSW) requiring him or her to be registered as a sex offender.

    The Commonwealth Criminal Code targets offences that relate to the use of a ‘carriage service’ for the transmission of ‘child pornography material’. This is material that depicts a person who is or appears to be under the age of 18:

    • in a sexual pose or engaged in sexual activity; or
    • in the presence of a person in a sexual pose or engaged in sexual activity;

    in a way that is offensive.

  3. Online grooming
  4. ‘Grooming’ is a reference to the actions taken by a person to gain a child’s trust. Grooming a child for sexual activity is an offence within section 66EB of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) and division 474 of the Criminal Code (CTH).

How Nyman Gibson Miralis can help you

Nyman Gibson Miralis have acted in complex domestic and international cases of cybercrime.

Many of these cases have involved multiple law enforcement agencies co-operating internationally to detect and prosecute persons alleged to be involved involved in cyber crime.

As cyber crime offences are borderless, it is becoming increasingly common for foreign jurisdictions to seek the assistance of Australian law enforcement to investigate cyber crime offences and often to seek to extradite individuals to face charges in a foreign country. The Australian Federal Police and the Australian Crime Commission play important roles in facilitating this co-operation.

Nyman Gibson Miralis have developed specialised skills in advising and representing persons who are being investigated globally and  have acquired a unique understanding of the framework within which cyber crime offences are investigated and prosecuted transnationally.

Nyman Gibson Miralis: the leading criminal law firm specialising in cyber crime, having developed advanced defence strategies to defend cyber crime charges.

What we can help with:

  • Malware & phishing offences
  • Computer hacking
  • Computer offences
  • Internet Fraud, Online Fraud, Email Fraud
  • Bootlegging and tripping
  • Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency fraud and seizure
  • Spreading viruses, identify theft
  • DDOS attacks, Botnet

If you need advice from a criminal defence lawyer, contact one of our criminal law specialists immediately at either our Sydney or our Parramatta offices. Call 1800 NOT GUILTY or fill in our contact form on this page and arrange a free conference with a solicitor today. Contact our specialists right now! 24-hour legal advice 7 days a week.

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