Civil, Criminal Charges on Table No Matter How Hacker Gets in the Cyber Door

A fired Georgia-Pacific system administrator who remotely accessed the company computer system to upload malware, causing $1.1 million in damages, has been sentenced to 34 months in prison. The case was prosecuted in Louisiana by the U.S. Attorney’s Office under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), which allows for both civil and criminal charges for those accused of hacking. The law applies to former employees who log into employer’s system after they had been terminated, says business and employment litigator Elisaveta “Leiza” Dolghih of the Dallas office of Godwin Bowman & Martinez.

A disgruntled former employee who finds his way into an employer’s computer system either to steal confidential information or to damage the system is subject to civil and criminal penalties,” she says.

Proving intent behind the unauthorized access, as well as the scope of the authorized access, is often difficult, as the employee will often deny and present seemingly plausible explanations. The key to success in CFAA cases is to have a qualified forensic team ready to go in and catch the ex-employee red-handed when suspicious activity is detected.


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