A hacker is someone who looks for and then exploits weaknesses in a computer or a computer network. Hackers may be motivated for different reasons which are mainly profit, protest, or challenge. Another use for computer hacking is in the investigation of crime with all the major investigation agencies employing experts to help to access material on computers and phones. The skills of a hacker are also used by big business to test the security of their systems and to trace suspected attacks.

The Computer Misuse Act 1990 introduced three new offences into UK criminal law namely unauthorised:

  • access to computer material
  • access with intent to commit a further offence
  • modification. 

For an offence of computer hacking to be committed the access to the computer material has to be unauthorised and the individual gaining access has to be aware that his access is unauthorised. There is no requirement for the intent to be directed at a specific program or file it is simply enough to prove that the access was unauthorised. There is no definition of computer material in the Act as it is far too complicated to be achieved by a piece of legislation. This has enabled the Act to apply to new pieces of technology as and when they are developed. However, the accepted definition of computer being any device for storing and processing information can be found in the Civil Evidence Act 1968.

Section 2 of the Computer Misuse Act covers unauthorised access to computer material with the intent to commit or facilitate the commission of further offences. The basic notion is that someone guilty of an offence under Section 1 of the Computer Misuse Act will have further criminal sanctions imposed on him if this is done with the intention to commit or facilitate the commission of further offences.

Examples of a further offence include Fraud, Forgery, Counterfeiting, Theft and Criminal damage.

Section 3 of the Computer Misuse Act imposes criminal liability on an individual if he has done one of the following three things:

  • Caused an unauthorised modification of the contents of the computer
  • Has the intention to make such a modification
  • Has the knowledge that what he intends to do is unauthorised

In order for an individual to be guilty of one of the above offences under Section 3 he must also be guilty of one of the other offences contained within either Section 1 or Section 2 of the Computer Misuse Act.

Contact Dennis Clarke to discuss your needs and agree a fee structure to deal with this. You may need a criminal lawyer with a clear understanding of software/programming.

Clarke Kiernan, Computer Law Solicitors,

1 Lamberts Yard, Tonbridge, TN9 1ER

Phone: 01732360999, Fax : 01732353835, fraud@clarkekiernan.comMap